Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Rosh Hashana Table, Doing a "Mitzvah," and the Legal Age for Eating Babka

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

If you found several hundred dollars on the floor 
of a laundromat, what would you do with it?

I like to believe that I would not run right to the nearest Christian Louboutin store and by a killer pair of pumps. 
Of course I wouldn't.
They don't call me Ms. Goody Two Toody Goo Shoes 
for nothing, you know.
Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I ask you, because on Thursday, the first day of Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year),
our Rabbi told a story of a man who,
many years ago, found $400 in a laundromat, 
and how his response in that situation,
had a profound affect on him 45 years later.

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes 
The Rabbi's sermon on the subject of doing a "mitzvah" 
(a good deed), was so powerful, 
 we were still talking about it that night
around the Rosh Hashana dinner table.

Part of the sermon was about Sam, an elderly man, 
who lived in a nursing home.
He was very active and alert,
and enjoyed participating in many activities.
One afternoon, he didn't show up for his favorite program.
The social worker was concerned,
and went to Sam's room to see if he was OK.

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Sam was lying on his bed, all dressed, 

as if he had someplace to go, yet, he wasn't going anywhere.
He looked extremely depressed.
The social worker finally got it out of Sam
that an aide had said something very cruel 
to him earlier in the day, and it upset him so much,
that it had zapped his will to do anything.

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The social worker sat and talked to Sam for awhile,
asking him lots of questions about his younger days. 
Eventually, Sam told the story about his job, many years ago,
 collecting coins from laundromats.
One day on his rounds, he found a roll of several hundred dollar bills on the floor. 
 Sam called his boss, asking if he could wait at the laundromat,
hoping that the person who lost the money, 
would come back to look for it.
His boss replied,
"I don't care what you do, but you do have a job to do,
and you better get it done."

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Sam decided he was going to wait, anyway.
Soon, a woman walked in looking extremely distraught.
"Has anyone found a roll of money?
It was the rent money I collected from our tenants,
and we'll have no money to pay our bills.
 My husband will be furious that I've lost it."
She was practically in tears.

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
My grandmother's silver
Sam approached the woman,
saying he believed he had found what she lost,
and handed her the money.
She was enormously grateful, 
and so appreciative of Sam's honesty.
Sam left feeling good about the "mitzvah" he performed.

After he told this story to the social worker,
Sam was smiling, and seemed energized.
He was ready to go to the activity after all.

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Silver Kiddush Cup from our wedding

So what is the point of this story?
The good deed that Sam performed 45 years earlier 

lived within him, and had staying power.
All these years later, simply talking about it 
could invigorate his body and mind,
and lift him out of a depression.
Had Sam decided to keep the money,
 he may have felt good in the short term,
but it would not have the lasting effect 
that his act of kindness did.
And, eventually, he probably would have felt badly about keeping the money.

Translation: The Louboutins may look fantastic at first,
but, eventually, they're gonna hurt your feet.

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We told the story to Aunt Goo Shoes,
when she came for dinner...
or rather, when she brought most of the dinner 
that she had cooked for us. 

We had apples dipped in honey...
symbolic of hopes for a sweet year ahead...

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

A round challah to symbolize the full circle of life...

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Matzoh ball soup, because it doesn't have to be Passover to enjoy it...

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Brisket, potato kugel and squash.

Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
I was too hungry to stage this photo!

And for dessert, there was chocolate babka.

Rosh Hashana Table -  Ms Toody Goo Shoes

Rewind about seven years...
Junior Goo Shoes was eight years old.
I asked him if he wanted a piece of babka.

He looked at me, kind of shocked, and said, 
"Mom! I'm not old enough for babka!"


"You have to be 18 to have babka."


"You mean vodka.  I am offering you babka - which is cake. 
The legal age for babka is 18 months, not 18 years...
you know, once you have teeth and can chew 
and swallow without choking."  


Rosh Hashana Tablescape - Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This year, when I gave him a some babka, I said, 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ann's Oatmeal Cake: Morning Comfort Food

Oatmeal Cake - Comfort food for the morning!

Are you ever in a really picky mood 
about what you feel like eating? 

Usually, when it comes to food,
I'm happy with whatever I can grab out of the fridge first, 
but every now and then...I feel like something,
yet I don't know exactly what it is. 
It's more like I know what I don't want.

That's what happened to me yesterday.

 I invited a friend over for coffee.

 It wasn't breakfast.
It wasn't lunch.
It wasn't brunch.

I'd serve a fruit salad, and bake something.
I didn't intend to wait until the zero hour to bake... 
in fact, I did make something the day before,
but it didn't turn out great. 

Oatmeal Cake - Comfort food for the morning!

So now, it was 7:00am, 
and my friend was coming at 10:30am.
I had to decide if I was going to bake, 
or run out and buy something ready-made. 

I really preferred to bake, but...
it had to be quick and easy...
 I wanted it to be "breakfasty..."
and I had to have all of the ingredients on hand.

What I wanted was comfort food...
you know, like meatloaf and mashed potatoes,
only breakfast style.

I went through my recipe file...
Nothing appealed to me.

I looked through a couple of cookbooks.
Zippo. Zilch. Nada.

I gave myself 10 minutes to find a recipe on Pinterest,
or else, I'd have to run out and buy something. 

So many things sounded delicious, 
but I was feeling really picky.

I wasn't in the mood for fruity.
I didn't feel like nuts.
Chocolate wasn't doing it for me. 

Oy, 2 minutes left-- Pressure!
But then, there it was, on my "Just Desserts" board...

Oatmeal Cake.


Oatmeal Cake - Comfort food for the morning!

I pinned this recipe back in July
when Ann from On Sutton Place did a post on it. 
She always has great recipes,
and I think half of my pins are from her blog. 
She and I seem to be on the same wavelength
when it comes to desserts.

I had no time to waste.
It took only a few minutes to measure the ingredients,
and mix them up.
I soaked the oats, and let them cool 
while I did 30 minutes on the elliptical.

Hutz, mutz, clutz, it was in the pan. 
(I don't know where that saying comes from,
but a co-worker always said it,
meaning "in no time"). 

The cake cooled for about an hour,
and it was still warm when I served it. 
It was perfect.


I had two pieces while my friend was here.
I ate another right after she left.

Oh, yeah, I am going to be rockin' that tight red dress I'm wearing for Rosh Hashana on Thursday.
Can you say "Spanx?"

I wrapped what was left of the cake,
and stuck it in the freezer before I could be further tempted.

Oatmeal Cake - Comfort food for the morning!

The texture is kind of muffin-y,
and I bet it's amazing shmeared with butter...or jam.

This is going to be a "Go-To" cake for me
from now on.
 I think it should be for you, too.
"Go-To" Ann's right now and get the recipe.
And the next time you're in a jam,
or want something to eat with your jam,
 have your oatmeal in a cake instead of a bowl.

Oatmeal Cake - Comfort food for the morning!

To my friends who celebrate the Jewish New Year...Shana Tova.

 Linking with:
Whimsy Wednesday 
Time To Sparkle
Wow Us Wednesday  
Wake Up Wednesday
What's It Wednesday 
Home and Garden Thursday
Foodie Friday  
Weekend Social
Let's Get Real
Simple and Sweet Fridays
Home Sweet Home 
Share It One More Time  
Sunday Showcase
The Scoop  
Treasure Box Tuesday 
Tweak It Tuesday
Totally Talented Tuesday 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Outdoor Fall Tablescape and a "Beautiful" Day

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Are the temperatures starting to drop 
in your neck of the woods?

It's definitely cooling down around here,
but not enough to pack away my flip flops just yet.

The mornings have been downright chilly,
but the afternoons?

While the afternoons are still mild,
it's nice to take a meal outside,
and so, I was inspired to do an outdoor fall tablescape.

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Nippy mornings and warm afternoons are fine,
it's just that I have no idea how to dress, 
especially if I'm going to be out all day...
like Wednesday, for instance.
 It was a jacket-on, jacket-off kind of day.

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 I had to be in New York City super-early...
 for an appointment on the Upper East Side.
It was almost chilly enough for a scarf.
Oh, get this - I'm walking up Lexington Ave. 
towards 78th Street, when I bumped into a friend. 
Remember I told you that crazy story 
about running into my sister?
I'm on a roll!

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

From there, I hopped on a subway and headed down to Soho for a hair appointment, brow tweezing, and cosmetics shopping.
Once I was cut, colored, plucked and made-over, 
I felt like a new person!

"You make me make me feel like a natural woman."

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes  
I was able to squeeze in a quick stop at the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy, for some lunch.
 It was early...the perfect time to go and avoid all the crowds.
I have to admit, I did indulge.
So what if I felt like a porker...
it was worth every bite! 

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 About 5pm, I headed up to midtown 
to meet my sister for dinner at Haru in Times Square.
 We had Sake-tinis at the bar...
 (oh, and some food, too)...
 ...and then, we walked down the street 
to the Steven Sondheim Theater to see the Broadway show,  
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical...
which was my sister's birthday gift to me!

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The show was outstanding!
If you are headed to New York,
and want to see a Broadway show, I highly recommend it!

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It was a perfect day...until the drive home.
I waited 15 minutes for my car, 
and then they brought me the wrong one!
It was very nice - I should have taken it.

Once I got the right car, I was zipping along, 
singing to the radio,
until I hit traffic on the West Side Highway
while I was still pretty far from the GW Bridge.
What the what? It was 10:00pm!

Where did everyone come from?
Doesn't anyone stay home at night?
With lyrics from the show fresh in my mind,
I couldn't help thinking...

"So Far Away...doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore... "

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Eventually, I made it to the bridge -- 
Really?... the upper level is CLOSED?
That meant I had to take a roundabout way to the parkway.
  I wound my way around to an alternate parkway entrance, 
to be greeted with the sign...
Entrance Closed.


"Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever gonna make it Home Again...
It's so far and out of sight..."
Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I finally pulled into the driveway at 11:00pm. 
It felt so good to be back home after a long... 

but "Beautiful" day in the city.

Fall Tablescape --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

"Till I'm home again and feeling right.
I wanna be home again and feeling right."

Have a "Beautiful" weekend!

Linking With:
Tablescape Thursday
Weekend Bloggy Reading 
Feathered Nest Friday 
Home Sweet Home 
Simple and Sweet Friday
Best of the Weekend 
Bouquet of Talent  
Sunday Showcase
Metamorphosis Monday
The Scoop
Tweak It Tuesday 
A Return To Loveliness 
Treasure Box Tuesday 
Time To Sparkle  
Wow Us Wednesday
Wake Up Wednesday 
What's It Wednesday  
Weekend Social 
Let's Get Real 
Home and Garden Thursday
Share It One More Time 
Totally Talented Tuesday 
Big Fall Bash 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rugelach Two Ways: Chocolate and Fig-Walnut

Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes

If I ask you to name the top five desserts you've ever had,
can you?

Rugelach from Machne Yehuda Market in Jerusalem 
is definitely on my "top five" list.

In case you're not familiar with it, rugelach is a Yiddish word,
 which, loosely translated, means "little twists."

Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes
Finding the best rugelach in the world 
has become something of a competitive family pursuit...
with each of us claiming at one time or another
to have found the winner. 
I like to think of it as our version of the Hunger Games. 

  It wasn't until we were in Jerusalem,
that we finally could name the victor.
It was the Best Rugelach We Ever Had. 

Our tour guide dropped us off at Machne Yehuda Market 
on a Friday afternoon.
Because it was right before Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath),
it was wall-to-wall people...
 like being in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

  We were hungry.
We were tired.
We were cranky.

We couldn't find a place to have lunch.
When we saw a stall selling baked goods, 
we stopped and got some rugelach.
It had just come out of the oven, 
and oh, my, my, my...
It was like manna from heaven. 

Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes

I don't know that anything can top those,
but my mother's recipe is pret-ty, pret-ty good.
I vividly remember the day that she went to 
her friend's house to learn how to make rugelach.
After that, they became a regular part of her baking repertoire. 

Yeah, she spelled it differently,
and no, I wouldn't use margarine. EVER.

Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes
My mother's recipe

She'd freeze them to have on hand...
"In case someone should stop by."
My sister and I would sneak into the 
tupperware containers,
and eat them right out of the freezer.
When my mother went to get them...
She'd find the containers almost empty.

Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes

My mother always used raspberry jam as a filling. 
I decided to try it with fig jam, and it was AMAZING!
(I used my favorite, Bon Maman).

I will only use fig jam from now on. 

Unless, of course, I want chocolate.

Or both.

Since the recipe makes 64 pieces,
I like to make two flavors, for variety. 
So, half chocolate, half fig-walnut. 

Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes

Some notes:
  • The dough must be refrigerated overnight, and cold when you work with it. 
  • Keep each section in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Your hands and work surface must be well-floured, as the dough is sticky.   
  • The measurements in my recipe, below, assume you are making half jam, and half chocolate.    
  •  Melt the chips just before spreading on the dough. I did not use nuts in the chocolate rugelach. 
  • It is important to bake the rugelach with the point-side down, so that they don't un-fold while they're baking
    Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes

    Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate

    For the dough:
    2 cups flour
    1/2 pound butter
    1 egg yolk
    3/4 cup sour cream

    For the filling:
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 tbsp. cinnamon
    1/4 cup fig jam (amount is approximate, for 1/2 recipe)
    1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted (amount is approximate, for 1/2 recipe)
    1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (amount is approximate, for 1/2 recipe)

    Mix flour and butter.
    Add egg yolk and sour cream.
    Mix until well-combined.

    Refrigerate over night. 

    The next day, divide dough into four balls. Work with one at a time, keeping the others refrigerated until ready to use. Two sections will be used for fig jam and walnuts rugelach; two sections will be used for chocolate rugelach.

    Preheat oven to 375°F.

    Flour hands and rolling pin before working with dough. Re-flour, as necessary, since the dough is sticky.

    Flatten the dough into a disc.

    On a well-floured work surface, roll dough into circle, approximately 9-10 inches in diamater.

    Gently place plate over dough, and use a knife to cut dough into perfect circle.

    Using a knife or icing spatula, carefully loosen the dough from the work surface.

    Mix sugar and cinnamon together.

    Spread two circles of dough with a thin layer of jam. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture, and walnuts over jam.
    Spread two circles of dough with melted chocolate, which should be a more generous layer. (I did not use nuts for the chocolate rugelach). 

    Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes

    Using a pizza cutter, cut each circle into 16 wedges. 

    Roll rugelach carefully starting at the widest part. 

    Put on parchment-lined baking sheets, with the point-side down.

    Bake for 12-15 minutes, but time is approximate, as all ovens are different. 

    The rugelach will remain pale, but bottoms will be golden brown. 

    Let cool. Can be stored in ziploc or plastic container, and frozen. 

    How To Make Rugelach   -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes #rugelach #rugula

    I've stashed my rugelach away in the freezer
    to serve on Yom Kippur after breaking the fast...
    Unless, of course, someone eats them 
    right out of the freezer,
    between now and then. 

    It could happen.

    Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate  -- Ms Toody Goo Shoes


    Linking with:
    Wow Us Wednesday