Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fundakowski-Feldman Molasses Cutout Cookies

The best part about these cookies growing up was their absence of raw eggs. We could eat as much dough as we wanted!

Molasses Cutout Cookies (makes about 48 gingerbread men)

2 ½ Cup Flour (3 ¾ C)
1 ½ tsp. Baking soda (2 ¼ tsp.)
½ tsp Salt (3/4 tsp)
1 tsp Ginger (1 ½ tsp)
1 tsp. Cinnamon (1 ½ tsp)
1 Cup Light molasses (1 bottle 12 oz.)
½ Cup Shortening (3/4 Cup)
2 tsp Grated lemon rind (3 tsp)

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. Combine molasses and shortening in saucepan. Bring to boil. Cool. Mix in dry ingredients and rind. Chill 2 hours or overnight. On a floured board, roll dough 1/8 inch thick, cutout and place ½ inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake in 375º F oven for 8 – 10 minutes or dry on surface. (I find it helpful to bake one test cookie. If indentations from cookie cutter are not visible on test cookie, more flour may need to be kneaded in to get cookie to hold shape. Too much flour will make a very tough cookie. Cookies can be decorated before baking by slicing red candied cherries to make smile, and small currants or ½ raisins for hands, feet and buttons and eyes.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New name, folks.

I'm just putting this online to let you all know that "Bash Mitzvah" and "Manoshovitz" are names I'm claiming for roller derby this season. I'm not sure when they will be submitted to the twoevils master roster, but I'm a derby girl, so I don't give a crap. Also, totally sad that Matzo Brawl is taken.

I'm skating with the Skyland Roller Girls and rocking out P90X with the roomie.

Check out the skates care of the lovely ladies at Black Eyed Susan Skate Shop in Baltimore! Marzipan, you da bomb.

Elle Manoshoveitz

Saturday, May 16, 2009

An April update! Contents:

  • Backpacking
  • Moving
  • Busy Season
  • More moving (just on property, no longer going to be solo).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mom and Pop

So, I've come to realize that my favorite places to be are the places where I know the people who are serving me. This is my feeling on Myung Ga in Cherry Hill, NJ (outside of Camden), which is a bomb Korean place with lots of veggie options (their web site is

There's also Cafe Mexicano in Riverdale, MD outside of Baltimore, which is run by Frederico y Maria. I went there two days in a row, and they have Coke made with cane sugar in glass bottles, not HFCS.

Then, there's Z and Jay at the Comfort Inn in Lawrenceville, outside of Princeton.

Somehow, relationships always come up. Usually I get asked if I'm married (no!), where I work, what I do. And since all I seem to do is work and drive and go on dates, those are the things that come up.

I love that it feels like I make friends (if not friends, at least friendly) with all the people I meet, and part of me wonders if G-d is preparing me for--something? I know a lot of my friends are rolling their eyes at this point, however that's how I feel.

Happy Pesach right now! I've got to get me the soundtrack to Zach and Miri, I am happy I bought a copy of the Blockbuster exclusive.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

With a cherry on top.

Recently the folks who specialize in working with our kids in the cities came up to train on our low and high ropes course so they can tag-team facilitation on-property in May and July. It's always so great when we work on curriculum in Blairstown because they get to feel the PBC experience.

A, the poet of the bunch, always says "it's nice to see you all in your native habitat."

Just like our participants, they are definitley out of their comfort zone at first, and then they always seem to do more than they thought they could, surprising themselves with their ability to complete challenges.

Also, it was exciting for us (Pinja, CO2 and I) as staff on property to get to participate in some of the elements, instead of just facilitating them.

They got a TON of information yesterday, and yet for facilitation of our Triangle Tension Traverse, everyone brought out all the energy we could muster, and in the pouring rain, we completed the element, then the sun came up and dried up all the rain, creating a rainbow. The debreif was short and sweet, facilitation superb, and then when we got back into the main area of camp we were lucky enough to run into this vision of prehistoric cool-ness:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lowest on the Totem Pole

I think that even as of a few months ago I felt like I was always apologizing, I was, to draw from some old symbolism of my own, a fetus. Incapable of doing almost anything at work on my lonesome.

And you know, even before I was born I still had my built-in partner-in-crime, my twin sister.

Today, I realize that there are a lot of things I am able to do as someone who primarily works with our primary service population that my supervisors can't do. There's a lot of change and good I make, and that's one of the reasons I can't for the life of me worry and fret over politicians--I make change at a grassroots-level. That's what I am lucky enough to get to do for a living.

I have so much to learn. I mean, my brain isn't even fully-developed, I'm still a teenager in there. Connections are still being forged.

And even though I don't help interview summer staff, or write the June training schedule, I still get an awful-lot of self-determination in my position every day. I get to make suggestions, set precidents (like sending things in PDF), and share the knowledge I do have with my colleagues. It's not a whole lot, and I am in awe 99% of the time at the experience, knowledge, and common sense held by my co-workers and supervisors.

There are also unique things I bring to my work. Coming from art school, having the ability to sew, having the ability to design publications and format files into portable documents to e-mail. I like that there are some things uniquely mine, and yet so much of what I am experiencing are things that all my colleagues have experienced, too. And they can't just tell me what they learned, because that's not how lessons are best learned. I have to experience these things for myself. Sure, there are growing pains, and times I feel incompetent or out of my element. I also need to have faith that my colleagues wouldn't put me in a place that I would flounder.

Oh, also, I have to get in shape and do more backpacking. Totally do-able. I didn't think I could ever swim the 550 but I have that thing nailed (even if my breaststroke form is TERRIBLE). As frustrating as the stubborn streak that runs in my family is, that's the same stubborn streak that helps me accomplish challenging tasks. I might WANT to give up on them sometime. And some days, I do. But I'm a pretty tenacious person. I don't have anything against me like half my kids have against them in the inner-city.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

No-Fail Fundakowski-Feldman Lemon Bars

My parents recently sent me a whole Priority Mail box of lemons, and prior to my backpacking trip I made a batch (cooked a little longer at a lower temperature for both chewyness and durability and because the power went out in the process). Lemon bars, after all, are a combination of carbohydrates, simple sugars, bright, bold flavors and pure fat--perfect for any cool-weather camping or backpacking expedition!

Without further ado, my parents' no-fail recipe:

No-Fail Fundakowski-Feldman Lemon Bars
makes one jellyroll pan or 9 by 13 pan, makes around 40-50 cookies

  • 1 Cup (1/2 lb.) butter (or margarine)
  • ½ Cup confectioners sugar (you can go 1/3 c confectioners then remaining sugar in the raw if you like the crunch like me)
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional, my addition)

  • 2 Cup sugar (or, 1 1/2 C. turbinado sugar, 1/2 C. white sugar if you like the crunch of the big crystals)
  • ¼ Cup flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 6 Tblsp. Lemon juice (1/3 C. plus 1 T.)
  • Very outer rind of 1 – 2 lemons, micro-planed if you have one, grated if not
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • pinch-dash salt (I go dash, recipe says pinch)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the top (1/4 c)

  1. Coat 9x13 inch baking pan or jelly roll pan with non-stick spray or margarine and preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Assemble crust; cut butter into sugar and flour mixture (or food process for great ease!).
  3. Press crust into 9 by 13 inch coated baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350º for approximately 20 min. or until barely browning (your nose knows when the crust can come out!).
  5. While baking, beat eggs in large mixing bowl; If using raw sugar or turbinado sugar cream in sugar at this time to give it a little more time to incorporate.
  6. add all but lemon juice and rind and mix until smooth and creamy.
  7. Finally add lemon juice and rind.
  8. Pour on top of baked crust and return to 350º F oven for 25 minutes or until top is set. Dust with confectioners sugar and cut into bars when cooled and set. Bite-sized bars work best, no matter what size the bars at Starbucks are.
  9. Keep all the chewy edges for yourself, give away the ones that look nice but are inferior in texture.
  10. Store in airtight container with wax paper between layers of cookies. These freeze very well.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

See you in 4 days!

Some people may be surprised to hear that I've never been backpacking before. I am in the car heading to High Point, New Jersey for work. I am hoping I can catalogue the trip well enough to relay in a fun and interesting way. I am thinking really hard about starting a facilitation weblog, if only because I would love to do some presentations at AEE regional conferences, and I think it'd be a great way to roll those ideas around the Internet. Part of me wonders if there are any collaborative blogs or groups of experiential educators who write.

Getting carsick, gotta stop. Back on Sunday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Has run out of witty title lines.

I'm eating leftovers from yesterday's lunch, and just got off the phone with a guy who I'm a big fan of, a vegetarian and veterinarian's son, basically me with a penis. He did a semester in NOLS during college and was an environmental studies major. He's Jewish. I like those things about him. What I don't like is that he lives in Connecticut, and that is not very close to my corner of New Jersey. It's a great distraction though, and makes me want to clean my house, so those things are great.

I am currently studying from some books to work on my packing skills. I spent my weekend being told that my torso is too short, and packing and re-packing a pack that doesn't fit me that well. Their contents are sprawled all over my house, and I pack- and re-pack and read and re-read the passages that are recommended.

Oh, and I don't "get" business casual. Can anyone help me figure these things out? Why are leggings under a skirt a no-go? Do I have to wear hose? How do other young professionals find the clothes that not only imply their professionalism but also still feel comfortable, like clothes you belong in? More specifically, WHERE do you get this clothing?

One thing after another. NYC is a no-go.

Tag on the side of BofA building near Newark Penn Station via Tom White's post on photography lot.

So, yesterday I was supposed to go into NYC with my supervisor and three of my co-workers to present a demo session of our in-school experiential programming to students at a middle school in uptown Manhattan.

We left Blairstown, New Jersey at about 8, plenty of time to make it to Burnet Street School in Newark by 10 AM. We roll up to Burnet at about 9:30, traffic was a breeze up 80 and Dinah, my supervisor, joins Christine and I after a couple minutes in the Astrovan (work vehicle). This is a burgundy Chevy Astro Van named Carmine. So who is Carmine? The Astrovan! Perfect!

Dinah lets C & I know that Andrea, one of our co's, started up from Camden to Newark and didn't feel well so she went back home, so Christine would be delivering the demo with Stephanie.

I'm driving since it's early and I'm a morning person, and Christine and Dinah are just shooting the breeze regarding a Monday training at the rock climbing wall with our community-based facilitators and some full-value contracts they were working on. I'm applying my makeup sitting in front of Burnet waiting for Stephanie to arrive.

At about 9:45 we get a phone call from Stephanie, who is stranded with a flat tire in Elizabeth, NJ, about 10 minutes away. We're running early, so we head off to meet Steph and see if we can't offer some assistance.

We get out of the Astrovan right next to Stephanie's Saab 90S and she doesn't have the jack for her car. Our Astrovan's jack is too big and won't even fit under the jack point.

I get on the horn with AAA, we're still running early so we could make it to the school in Manhattan by 12 noon.

While AAA is on it's way, the guy from across the street where there's an Airpark Valet Parking service (we're very close to NWK international airport) who drives up and he's got a jack and a pneumatic drill so he changes her spare tire like that!

Stephanie's daughter arrives and since the tire's changed she gets ready to go when...I turn the key in the ignition and Carmine does...nothing.

So, Stephanie's daughter pulls out the jumper cables and we get a little juice but no-go. By the time AAA gets there Stephanie has parked her car with fresh donut, brought our supplies into the Astrovan, her daughter's left after trying to jump the battery and we're all slack-jawed at my ineffective starting of the car. The guy from AAA hops out and is confused that there's no SAAB with a flat but an Astrovan in need of a jump, and he gets to work, trying to jump it a 2nd time.

Keep in mind this whole time my supervisor is just noshing on organic cheese puffs and saying "If we get going in the next 60 seconds...5 minutes...10 minutes, we can still make it!" and laughing and smiling (which definitley helped relieve the stress of the situation!)

Now, in the past two weeks I had a similar problem with the other Astrovan not starting after filling her up with gas, and I had to drip charge the battery of our Big White canoe-trailer-towing van after I left her lights on so I am not having the best of luck with the vehicles lately. I can only think that Dave is going to kill me.

He gets nothing, Carmine, she's dead as a doorknob. So, we put everything into Steph's car (which has a donut on it) and I call AAA for the second time (I only get 4 calls a year, thanks Dad!) about the AstroVan, which will need to be towed.

Clearly, we were not meant to go into NYC.

I stay with Carmine as we get towed to a service station. Dinah, Christine, and Stephanie follow in her Saab. In those three miles, the Saab starts smoking.

Stephanie pops the hood and her radiator hose is completely busted.

George at the service station takes in our fallen Carmine and lends Stephanie a roll of electrical tape so she can make it back from Elizabeth to Newark and then to Stephanie's house in Highland Park.

We go out for some amazing Spanish food outside the Ironbound, and Dinah drops us off at the Rockaway Mall where Afton comes and rescues us, taking us home. We arrive back in Blairstown, sans Carmine, at about 4:45, check in with our supervisor Heather, and peace out of the office, exhausted despite having done no actual work all day sans some driving.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Valentine's Day

I was going to go on a date Sunday, then came to my senses regarding driving down to Baltimore after a date in NYC and Josh and I met up Saturday night (after I picked up new hiking boots at Campmor in Paramus), we went to a bomb Vegetarian restaurant in Greenwich Village called Gobo, then we hit Smalls, which is a live little hole-in-the-wall jazz club for a really lovely set. I had a really amazing time and am looking forward to seeing this guy again soon sometime!

Other than dating, I've been swimming my 550 in preparation for the summer and also I am breaking in my new hiking boots and practicing carrying around a backpack full of stuff for the work expedition that's in a couple of weeks. Did I mention I hate swimming and can't wait until it's over and done with, my lifeguard cert?

I was also blessed enough to go work in Trenton this week, and I was so excited to see them! Yesterday one of the children who came up to PBC with the Donelly Initiative and was in my group for a week earned his shirt at Foundation Academy, meaning that he proved himself to be a part of the school community. This is a student who often finds himself in a yellow shirt and on the bench, who thinks he knows all the answers, but I cannot help but love him, he's so smart and clever and vibrant. It made my week to see Frederick wearing a Foundation Academy shirt.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dates and Dar

I have a lot of great people in my life, and I am thankful for those people. However, so many of my friends from school are starting to, or have already moved on. And here I am, getting ready to take one last class, waiting with baited breath on pending student loan applications.

As I sit and type this, off to the southeast cotton-candy pink clouds reflect the sunrise across the field behind my home.

I am starting to meet more and more people, and that's a great thing. Though the first date is an ever-vexing event, games of Scrabble and sharing the planetarium of stars outside my house break the ice fairly easily. Still, I wonder what you all are up to. Working at Urban Outfitters? The Apple store? Getting ready to move to the big, bad city? Will things always feel this way? I have a 10-year plan, but G-d doesn't give a damn for the best laid plans, much less those of mine.

Also, if you like folk music, you probably already know Dar Williams. I didn't. Check her on Pandora, you might be surprised.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

As much as I love my job...

I adore being a facilitator. There's always room for improvement as a person and employee, I'm with a lot of people who give feedback that is consistently coming from a caring and thoughtful place and given with love, and I can concentrate on the differences I make in the lives of young people instead of the horrors going on in the world.

And then here is a big AND (because when you say "but" you are negating what you just said).

And despite all those great things, I am dreading going to work a little this morning. I know I'm getting a Memo of Concern on finishing my degree, which just sounds terrifying. Though I was told last week that I am qualified for my job, I still am always worried that I'm about to be sacked. The recent hardship is that I need another Art History class to finish my degree at MICA, and with another one of my co-workers starting grad school, this is not what my employer needed from me; Unlike C's classes, that MICA class is not in the evening or on a weekend, it's smack in the middle of the day and amounts to 12 hours a week just commuting and sitting in Bunting, much less homework or field trips.

So, as I prepare to brave the snowy world outside my door, I am sharing my resolution with you all: I resolve to be like the farmer in my understanding of Karma, that I will create good Karma for being thankful for whatever happens to me, as that is the only thing that could have happened in that space and time. And I know that I need to get my degree, and that PBC wants me to do that but, flatteringly, still needs me.

Now you all know what that Damn. image was about last month. I made a mistake on my degree plan, I need an art history class, but I am still happy and healthy at my current job, where I intend to be for the next few years.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Video of a house moose.

You tell me this isn't the most amazing thing you've seen. I have so many technical questions about how they keep the moose from tracking in mud...where does he go to the bathroom? How does he get on with the household pets?

Elle's shared items