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Consumer Watch: April 2022

Rights and Entitlements in Israel

"All Rights is a partial translation (696 articles) of Kol Zchut (כל זכות), the leading site about rights and entitlements in Israel" - www.kolzchut.org.il/en/Main_Page

The subjects covered include: Health and Illness, Cancer Patients, Old Age and Aging, People with Disabilities, Children with Disabilities, and New Immigrants (Olim).

The site is supported by the Ministries of Justice and National Digitization; the main Hebrew page links to English and Arabic versions, all with accessibility options.

Veggie Delights

What with the pandemic and an upsurge in vegetarians and vegans in Israel, small containers of ready-to-eat dairy and other foods are making their appearance at the markets. The smaller sizes are perfect for picnics or condiments or a quick snack.
In particular: Now available are 200g tins of domestic and imported corn, garden peas, whole chickpeas (humus), red kidney beans, whole or pitted olives-in-brine, and white beans or spicy red chili beans in tomato sauce. Drained weights vary and most have no additives other than salt, but check labels for actual ingredients.

Both Ends against the Middles

One bath towel isn't always enough to dry long hair, unless the narrow ends are used to make a towel-turban too. The trick is to tuck the corners of the narrow ends inside, under the longer edges, before twisting the turban up – and two 'middles' finish the job later.

Fonda's Cooking Tip

It works! To prevent a pot of boiling water or spaghetti from overflowing, place a wooden spoon across the top (without the lid being on). Sometimes a cracked egg can be the reason for water boiling over, and the wooden spoon method prevents it from doing so. I've been doing this for years.

Just used this method again for my boiled eggs.

Toaster-Oven* Steak, and Baked Hash
* An oven, with heating both below and above

Per steak:
~ one 3.5 x 18 x 22.5-centimeter aluminum tin (rinse before use)
~ one 250-300g veal steak, with or without bone, about 2cm thick, rinsed
~ one small to medium onion, cut in half and sliced thinly, spread over tin bottom
NO oil, salt or spices needed.

Place steak on top of onion slices and center tin in the oven
Setting for "very well done": C170-190 for 40-50 minutes. Turn-over is not necessary.

Experiment with reduced cooking times to get rare or medium; results will also vary depending on the appliance.

The top may look dark and dry, but the onion and meat's own fat and juices keep it moist and tender underneath. Use the resulting gravy for rice, noodles, potatoes etc.

Options: top the onion with
~ small to medium diced potato
~ bell pepper strips
~ small tin of drained peas, humus or mushrooms
~ half a head whole or diced garlic cloves

For Baked Hash: substitute 250-300g fresh ground beef and mix with diced bell pepper, onion, garlic and potato.

Bon Appetit!

Best Purchase Ever...

Ann industrial-size skein of pearl-gray sewing thread, 11cm tall, for hand-machine sewing. The color blends well for most mending. My skein was on sale twenty years ago and isn't half used-up yet. It's kept in a cranberry juice bottle slit open on the side, with a hole in the cap to pull thread through, and a cardboard-cut-out bottom inside, to keep the skein level.

Calling Card File

Use a really big, hard sunglasses case to keep calling cards neatly together, close to hand and dust free. Better still use two – one for contacts and the other for services.

Snuggery

* For added warmth in winter, place a fleece blanket under the bed sheet when making the bed up. But for sheer snuggery, try a fitted flannel sheet under a regular fitted cotton one.

* Instead of quilts, try 2-3 fleece blankets in a cotton or flannel quilt-cover, with a flat sheet on top; they are as warm and lighter, and have this advantage: layers can be added or removed as the temperature warms or cools.

Exercise Noodle

The physiotherapist handed out towels as exercise aids, which were usable but rough on the skin. At home, a threadbare sheet 'almost' worked.

After much experimenting "the Noodle" was born from an old, flat, unwrinkled single sheet and two strong rubber bands. Fold the sheet edges inwards like an army blanket until around 80cm long, then fold and roll the width inwards. Secure with a doubled/tripled rubber band about 15-18cm from each end. The result should be a soft cloth exercise noodle about 80cm long x 6cm wide x 2cm thick. Take apart to launder and refold as needed.

Apropos Threadbare....
* Old kitchen towels make good, washable dust clothes.
* Threadbare bath and hand towels make great, soft and washable shelf and drawer-liners.

Barn Owl Peace Makers?

For the past several years Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) have erected and monitored nesting boxes specifically constructed for barn owls (Hebrew singular: tinshemet). The results exceeded expectation: the avian population is thriving while farmers' rodent problems have decreased dramatically, reducing use of chemical pesticides by 60%.
And it doesn't end there. Farmers in the Palestinian Authority began seeing results and interest spread to Jordan, Cyprus, mainland Greece and even the Vatican. Prof. Yossi Leshem of TAU and SPNI, who heads the project, was interviewed on KAN 11 News after giving a presentation at EXPO 2021 IN DUBAI, where participants from North Africa and Bahrain showed interest.
The project's tongue-in-cheek motto: "The Barn Owl will replace the Peace Dove".
Currently there are some 5,000 barn owl nesting boxes spread from northern Israel to the northern Negev. On average, a nesting pair will raise 5 to 12 chicks a year, with each owl consuming between 2,000-6,000 mice annually.

No Laundry Table?

Use a folding ironing board to sort and fold clean laundry, or keep a clean tablecloth or sheet handy to spread over a convenient counter or bed; to reuse, fold the clean side inwards and store.

Wonders Will Never Cease Dept.

Israeli start-up SOLCOLD has come up with a coating which immediately converts solar energy into cooling, on the spot, with no intermediate stage. In a field demonstration in August, the temperature differential between the insides of two cars in full sunlight, one partly covered, wasC15 degrees.
Under the slogan "THE SUN ITSELF COULD SOON BECOME A LOW-COST AIR CONDITIONER," SOLCOLD is currently field-testing its product, which it hopes to make commercially available in 2022. The coating is described as being usable on any surface, requires no maintenance, and is being considered for use on buildings, vehicles, airplanes, and even in outer space.

Cat Food Caveat – again

Two years ago, my cats behaved as though their tinned food was electrified. While mashing it I found the reason: bone fragments. I notified the company, which sent a free tray (24 tins) as compensation, but that was also no good. We tried another brand.
Recently that brand also started containing bone fragments, and the problem spread to four more foreign and domestic brands of tinned cat foods: everything from bone grit to chunks up to 0.50-1cm wide and slivers as long – with and without skin fragments – and once even a hip bone (femoral head) 3cm across. [And yes: I used a ruler.] Often, the bones are visible as white specks against the brown pate. Since I buy wholesale for a discount, I had to return 65 tins to my supplier. Poultry flavors seem particularly prone but when one flavor has them, all are suspect.
So if your cat is off its feed - it may not be its fault. Anyone who has bitten a shell fragment in a cake, or had a fish bone stuck in gum or throat, knows what it feels like.

Soft Doorstops... to hold doors or gates ajar, for airflow, or to prevent noise/damage.
It needn't be too thick or long: take a scrap of old toweling 8cm wide x 12cm long, turn wide edges inwards and roll tightly lengthwise, then tie in the middle to make an hourglass shape (><). The narrow middle fits between door/gate and frame to keep it slightly open, and (usually) prevents noise or damage if a wind suddenly tries to slam it.
Recently two wooden screen doors swelled from high humidity and became difficult to open once their springs slammed them shut; soft doorstops kept them from wedging into the frames... and still kept bugs out.

Mini-Baked Potatoes
Those oft ignored smaller potatoes can make delicious mini-baked potatoes without individual foil wrapping. After washing, fit 3-4 small potatoes in their skins into a long cake tin and cover with a doubled-over piece of foil. Bake at a high temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Better still: if you are baking already and there's room in the oven, cook the potatoes for later; they are delicious hot or cold, suitable for vegetable, meat or dairy servings and they keep for a day or two in an open bowl lined with a paper towel.
To reuse tin and foil-cover: drain and let dry.
Beteavon!

Fast and Easy Vegetable Scrubbing

place a damp scrubbing pad flat on the counter and rub the potato/beet/radish back and forth OVER it. Easier to clean rounded surfaces, too :)

Candle Snuffer

Aluminum candle-stick shields, used to catch dripping wax, also make excellent candle snuffers when turned upside-down. 

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Tuesday, 05 July 2022

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