Monday, 30 April 2012

Coleslaw and Cantinas...What a Combo!

My first attempt at homemade coleslaw

My regular readers already know that I love to grocery shop.  This was not always the case...I can remember Mom dragging me to Miracle Food Mart at Glencairn and Bathurst for the weekly shop, and just hating how she would meander through the aisles at record ... what's the opposite of "speed"?!?  Well, you get the idea!  Torontonian's will appreciate the video link below of a Miracle Food Mart commercial featuring none other than the King of Kensington himself, Al Waxman.

It's funny, because now I am the one who meanders the aisles, checking out new and interesting items stocked on the shelves, thinking up new recipes to prepare for my family, and just enjoying my "alone time". 

I pride myself on being's the only way to work and run a household and not have things consistently fall apart!  If you open our pantry doors, you will find a clip for each of the kids' schools or activities, along with a family calendar and THE LIST!  I have tried to get my family to write down every new item they open, or finish, on THE LIST, and for the most part I have succeeded.  This way, I can keep a stocked cantina (cold cellar) and not run out of essentials.  Nothing frustrates me more than discovering I have run out of something that a recipe calls for, especially because those discoveries usually happen when I am smack dab in the middle of preparing the recipe and have not one extra moment to run out to the store.


I am a stockpiler - not a hoarder - there is a big difference!  Like my mother, and maternal grandfather before me, I lay in supplies.  My grandfather grew up on the beautiful prairies, which could be unforgiving in the winter.  He also grew up almost 100 years ago, when there were no 24-hour Sobey's to run out to.  He lived through the depression, and learned to stretch a dollar - or a nickel - as did my 3 other grandparents.  And I have learned from them all.  But this story is about the cold cellar addiction...something that has been passed down through the generations on Mom's side, which has reached me.  I love emptying my groceries into the cantina, watching as my laid in supplies grow, and the shelves fill up.

A young Zaida Bernie with his trademark cigar

I can remember going down to Zaida Bernie's cold cellar closet, which was always locked (?!? - maybe one of my uncles can explain that one to me) and helping him bring up items from Bubbie Lou's "list".  There were shelves going up to the ceiling, and they were full of different delicacies mixed in with store-bought items.  I can remember the cases of Fresca and tins of Spaghettios (remember, I did not grow up Italian!!).  There were bags of Old Dutch chips, and lots of jars of pickles - pickled tomatoes and pickled cucumbers.  Bubbie Lou would preserve foods in the late summer and they would last all winter.

Mom did the same thing in Toronto, and we had a cold cellar filled with all of her stockpiled canned items as well as her preserves and wine.  But that is for another post - to be unveiled some time later this summer.

So now the "stockpiling syndrome" has passed down to me, and our cantina is filled with tins of sauce, veggies, and soups; with bags of pasta, onions, potatoes and potato chips; with cereals, coffees, teas, pops (soda), spices and baking supplies, with jars of homemade sugo, bottles of maple syrup and salsa.  Too many items to keep listing but, again, you get the idea!  

Spring is here, warm weather is around the corner, I have been blogging for almost 10 months, and I have become comfortable cooking Mom's recipes and writing about them.   What does all this mean?  It means it is time to start preparing traditional preserved items to stock the shelves of our cantina.  

I have recently tried making 2 dishes I would traditionally buy at the grocery store - potato salad and coleslaw.  Mama Bruni makes the most incredible potato salad (you'll have to keep coming back for that in-the-near-future post) and I have started trying to make it at home too.  

Lena's mom, Mamitchka, makes the most delicious pickled mushrooms, peppers and's recipe represents my first attempt at making the coleslaw for our kids - it was a success...hurray!!  In fact, the only other time I tried making coleslaw was in Mrs. Hoschander's Grade 7 Home Economics class!

Earlier this month we hosted the first Passover Seder at our house.  Mamitchka brought her one-of-a-kind, out-of-this-world coleslaw, and peppers.  The kids adore her coleslaw, and squealed with delight when they saw me pouring it into serving dishes.  And then it hit me, I have a Cuisinart, I could make this!  So I asked Mamitchka for the recipe, and once Passover was done, I set out to make my own coleslaw.  I put cabbage on THE LIST, and the following week, I was ready to try my hand at homemade coleslaw.

I removed the outer leaves of the head of cabbage, and cut it into manageable wedges that would fit into my Cuisinart feeding tube.  I then ceremoniously brought down the accessories box, and took out the shredder disc.  Let me explain...I tend to injure myself on blades - Mom had to take me and a young Sara to Emergency Rooms at least twice to stitch or "glue" deep slices on my hand or finger.  Carlo and the girls had to do the same 2 years ago, and just the other night, Sara had to run upstairs for polysporin and band aids after I sliced a deep cut into my thumb while cutting onions for the Chicken Paprikash.  Later that evening, during dinner, when Carlo heard of the latest injury, he asked if we needed to go for a stitch - as matter-of-factly as you might ask to pass the sugar!  Oy, am I ever predictable!

But I digress!  I carefully loaded the shredder disc into the Cuisinart, and started to shred the cabbage. I was intimidated, for the simple fact that I had never shredded anything before, but was pleasantly surprised to discover just how easy it was!  Then I shredded the red pepper, and it was time to change the blade.  I poured my cabbage and pepper combo into a big Tupperware, and changed to a grater disc.  I grated the carrots and added them to the mix.  Then I prepared the marinade on the stove top.  I added equal parts of canola oil and (white) vinegar, some sugar, salt and pepper.  I brought the whole mixture to a boil, then removed it from the heat and let it cool a little before pouring it over the cabbage, carrot and onion mixture and tossing.  It refrigerated for an hour and was ready for testing. Yumm!  

Wow, one head of cabbage sure goes a long way...I have taken a jar to the office for Dad and I to nibble with our lunch, and a still have 2 more here at home!  Next time, I think I will try a combination of red and green cabbage for a more colourful slaw!  The timing is perfect, with Spring in the air, and BBQ season upon us, it is time for knuckers (jumbo hot dogs) on the barb-ee and coleslaw and potato salad on the side!

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Mamitchka's Coleslaw

  • 1 head cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 carrots (grated)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • ½C canola oil
  • ½C white vinegar
  • ¼C granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste 

Remove the first layer of outer leaves of the cabbage.  Cut the cabbage into wedges, remove and throw out the core, shredding the cabbage.  Cut red pepper into quarters and feed into shredder.  Grate carrots.  Combine all the above vegetables in a large bowl or Tupperware.  

Prepare marinade by combining remaining ingredients in medium sauce pan, stirring occasionally.  Bring mixture to a boil, and then remove from heat.  Cool slightly, and pour over cabbage/carrot/pepper mixture.  Toss, and refrigerate.   

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mom's Tantalizing Tuna a la King... Taking Me Back In Time

"Little Nomi" - age 7

As a little girl I longed to grow up.  I dreamt of being beautiful and glamorous like my mother, wearing high heel shoes, lipstick and the sweetest smelling perfume.

This post will feature a few photos of Mom from her early 20s through to her mid-40s...this is what she really looked like every day!  She was always so beautiful and put together, it's no wonder that she'd tell me to go freshen up my lipstick or fix my makeup - I must have looked like a disheveled wreck next to her!

I can still see my mother standing at the front door on a Saturday night, giving last minute instructions to the babysitter before going out with Daddy for the evening.  I can smell the Rive Gauche perfume she wore back then, and feel the soft beaver fur of her coat as I snuggled in to her, marveling at how the fur changed appearance depending on  which way I ran my hand along it.

Mom is on the left, with her Bubbie Gertie & Auntie Etta

As a child, I would cloister myself in my room, transforming my personal space into my household of the future.  I made paper Shabbat Candles, and set up my little Shabbat Dinner table for my imaginary family.  I always knew this was what I wanted...not that a career wasn't on my list, just that I always knew I wanted to be a wife, mother and homemaker - who can blame me?  - I had the best example in my own mother.

And now I am just that, 21st century version of my mother's model of homemaker, taking the greatest joy in those moments spent with my beloved family, preparing foods that they will love, knowing that right now it is taken for granted (albeit appreciated), but one day, these 2 beautiful girls we are raising will transform and find themselves glamorous, new and improved versions of their mother.

Mom...the newlywed

Funny, now that I've reached the point where I longed to be, I look back and wish I had not wished those innocent days of childhood away so fast.  I wish I have lived in the moment, appreciating every second I had with my parents.  Now we are all older and a little more weathered and changed after living through 10 years of Mom's AD.

Sometimes, in my dreams, I am back there, a young girl or teen, living in my childhood home, and Mom is there.  The dreams are so vivid and real, I am sure that the AD journey was just a nightmare, and the dream is my reality.  I am so happy in these dreams...but even there, a part of me knows that it is a dream, and I tell myself to take in every second, bask in the glory of reliving what was.  And then I waken.  In an instant it is over. As I open my eyes and realize it was just a dream, my heart flies into my throat and both feel like they are about to burst, the tears start welling up and I rediscover the loss,which stays with me throughout the day, constantly resurfacing in fleeting sensations. do I deal with it?  I try to be positive, yet allow myself to mourn at the same time.  And this is the reason I am sharing these sadder stories with you lately.  I have thought long and hard about it, and realized that I if I am to share my journey with you, it has to be honest.  I cannot pretend that there aren't difficult lows - there are - but I still try to face it all with a positive outlook, reminding myself of all my "thankfuls" and reconciling myself to the fact that this is part of my destiny, painful and sad as it may be.

A few years later, at her Baba Dora's table
 (see the photo of the little girl directly above
her head? That's me, with my  crown of daisies!)

And then, I throw myself into cooking and baking.  My kitchen is my sanctuary as Mom's kitchen was hers.  I think of her every time I use her 4C measuring cup, every time I use her Kitchen Aid Mix master.  It's not that I couldn't buy my own, but somehow, using the tools that she used to is comforting, as though she has passed the torch to me, as my friend Donna says - I am cooking with her hand on my shoulder...

And I find recipes from my past, recipes that my family might chuckle at because they are just so "white bread", but I loved them, because Mom made them, and as far as I was concerned, there was no better cook on earth than my mother!  My treasured mother-in-law is a very very close second!

Mom - lighting the Shabbat candles

Last night I dreamed of Mom...and I have awakened with a heavy heart and a longing for "what was", even though I will probably eat this whole dish on my own, for a few lunches this week (oy vey!), I have an urge to make Mom's Tuna a la King, a delicacy from my childhood.

Tuna a la King was a weekend go-to lunch Mom would prepare.  It was fast and easy (not that we cared about that when we were kids) and so delicious.  Mom would serve me a plate and I would wipe up every last drop of the sauce from my plate...always asking for seconds.  Given that it is a tuna-based dish, I know Sara won't try it, but I am hopeful that Becca or Carlo might find themselves curious enough to taste a spoonful/forkful...I will let you know in a post script!

P.S. (April 30, 2012) - I never got to make the Tuna a la King for lunch on Saturday, but my sweet Sara did whip up grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and a spizza camientu.  Yesterday, I made the Tuna a la King.  Carlo teased me for my 1950's fare, but came back for a second helping!  I guess there is a little "Leave it to Beaver" in him after all!

Mom & Earl, a dear family friend

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Mom's Tantalizing Tuna a la King

1 tin of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 tin of mushrooms drained (Mom used button, I tend to used sliced - use whatever you prefer)
1 tin flaked tuna, drained
1 onion, diced
sliced bread, toasted

Using a medium sized sauce pan, saute the chopped onions in until translucent.  Add mushroom soup, drained tuna and drained mushrooms. Heat thoroughly, then simmer.  In the meantime, toast slices of bread (at least 1 per person).  Plate toast, and then top with a generous ladle-full of Tuna a la King.  Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Camels, Falafel and my last trip to Israel with Mom

I found this photo on Google I am inspired!
I can't wait for the weekend so I can  create my own
Yom Ha'atzmaut  #64 cupcake....coming soon!

Happy Birthday!  Tomorrow Israel turns 64!  This photo was taken on our last family trip to Israel with mom, shortly after her EOAD diagnosis.  I am not sure what I thought the future held when we first received Mom's diagnosis.  She seemed too young for this to be happening.  So when the specialist informed us that her EOAD was aggressive and progressing at an atypically fast rate, the push was on to make the most of the time we had.  In a matter of 2 weeks we were on our way to Israel, so Mom could show her girls "HER beloved Israel".

Mom, Dad and the girls at the Kotel

Let me backtrack a little, Mom and Dad are dedicated Zionists, as are Davie and I.  It is no wonder, given that they both witnessed the creation of a Jewish State, albeit from very different perspectives.  Mom used to tell the story of the creation of the State of Israel, as seen through the eyes of a 5-year-old girl attending a Hebrew class.  Her teacher was a survivor, and cried as she told her wide-eyed students that the Jews finally had a homeland - Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel).  That experience had a profound impact on Mom, and  consequently on me.  I can envision the scene so clearly, it is as though I lived it myself.  Dad's brother fought in Israel's War of Independence in 1948.  Dad wanted to go too, but was only 15 years old. A whole line of Dad's family emigrated from Russia to Israel (then Palestine), while Zaida David and Baba Dora moved to Canada.  Myself, I have only ever known a world with Israel in it, and my love of this amazing land and nation grows with each passing year. 

Our first family trip to the Holy Land was when I was 8 and Davie was 6.  We spent the summer there, touring, visiting with family and friends, and eating the most delicious food on earth.

Two years later, we returned for another summer so my father could write his Israeli Bar exams.  We spent another summer frolicking in the Israeli summer sun, spending time with family and friends, and, again - eating the most incredible food.

Both of these trips involved a great deal of sightseeing.  As far back as I can remember, my mother and brother shared a love of history and archaeology.  They brought both to life as we toured Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel). 

Back to the present...the same way that I can whip up a meal, my brother can whip up a trip!  Seriously, he can!  And so he did.  All we had to do was pack our bags and grab our passports and Moishe, Carol, Carlo, the girls and I were on our way! 

The 2007 trip was memorable for many was the first time Carlo or the kids had been to Israel, and it was love at first site.  It will come as no surprise to regular MMT readers, but I love food.  I love to prepare it and to eat it, and I tend to associate memorable occasions with the foods I ate and the music I listened to at the time. 

Please join me as I walk down memory lane, via photos from Mom's final trip to Israel with "her girls".


The view of the beach side park from our room

When we arrived in Tel Aviv we could not believe our eyes - or ears!  I was so tired and jet-lagged but the kids were full of energy, and eager to see and experience everything.  The Tel Aviv Promenade was just across the street from our hotel, and it came alive at night!  It was 10:00 at night and the beach was hopping with a concert (Hassidic, I believe).  The beach side park was bursting with young families and children playing in the sand park. 

We stayed in a hotel just off the beach and walked... A LOT!   So it was essential that we eat a big, nutritious breakfast before heading out each day.  The Israeli Breakfast at the hotel was out of this world.  The buffet table was the length of the dining room, and the dishes varied from cereals, to pastries and baking, to fruits, to eggs and toast.  My favourite part of the buffet was the section devoted to olives and cheeses.  Mmm  mmm good!  I kept going up to refill my plate with salty delicacies.  The kids' favourite station was the smoothie station - and they happily stood and waited for fresh fruit smoothie drinks every morning. 

View of our hotel pool - from Mom and Dad's room

Then it was off to the pool (above) for some fun in the sun and then walking to the Shuk Ha Carmel - the Carmel outdoor market (below), and the Galleria for shopping.  

You can almost smell the freshly baked breads

Such beautiful produce

The best restaurant in all of Israel has to be Maganda.  Mom loved this restaurant, deep in the Yemenite section of the Shuk.  Everywhere you go in Israel the meals start with plates of pita and hummus and trays of olives and pickles. Maganda is no exception, and my mouth waters just thinking about it.  We enjoyed many local delicacies there, including my favourites - Moosht (St. Peter's fish) and Moroccan cigars....

Maganda - the street view

A sampling of Maganda appetizers precede the meal


One day we walked to Jaffa -  a 1/2 hour walk along the beachfront.  Mom had wanted us to go to a restaurant she and Dad went to on their most recent trip to Israel.  It was closed, but we happened upon a small diner-type outdoor restaurant named Kuka Restaurant.  The kids were hungry, and we needed to stop somewhere.  As luck would have it, this restaurant was incredible, and we kept ordering plate after plate of Moroccan cigars.  They were the best cigars that I've ever tasted...ever!

We had such fun exploring Jaffa, leisurely walking off our amazing lunch and watching young newlywed couples having their photos taken in the gorgeous parks of Jaffa.  Then we stumbled upon the Wishing Bridge - which is lined with all the zodiac signs.  You find yours and make a wish...I wish I could remember what I wished for.  Right now I wish Dad had stopped taking pictures long enough to let us take his on the Wishing Bridge!

Mom and Sara


Rivi and I




Tel Aviv Train Station

Waiting for the train with Zaida

We decided to take the train up to Haifa to visit our family.  Even the train station was exciting for our girls!  I had forgotten how beautiful Haifa is - with the vast and incomparable Bahai Gardens, the coastline cousin Nina's phenomenal cooking!!  You heard me!  Our family are not used to eating a lot of take away food, and after a few days, it was really starting to get to us.  We were in desperate need of a home-cooked meal.  Lucky for us, Nina is an amazing chef.  We visited and ate for hours, the kids devouring her schnitzel, eggplant, and so much more.   She sent home leftovers, which we lovingly protected the whole train ride back to Tel Aviv.  Believe me, we did not leave a crumb.

Dono, Nina and me

Nina, Mom and the girls in Nina's beautiful garden

In Nina's kitchen, with just a sampling
of the many delicacies she served

Train ride home from Haifa - wheeee!


So, the next stop on our 2007 tour was to Masada and the Dead Sea.  We had a great tour guide named Allon take us there.  As we descended further and further below sea level Carlo's excitement became palpable.  This was the highlight of his first trip to Israel.  But first, we needed to see Masada.  And again, I had the all-time, hands down BEST EVER falafel in the Masada restaurant.  We refuelled our engines and headed up via cable car to the top (3 years later David and Carlo would walk it, while I sat on shpilkis waiting for them to reach the top). 

Waiting for the cable car at the base of Masada

Still waiting for that cable car...

Walking atop Masada...I felt like a wandering Jew in the
desert...oh wait, I WAS a wandering Jew in the desert!

Sure is a long way down...the squares on the left and
right are what's left of the Roman encampments

This is a perfectly stable, strong and safe walkway built on the side
of I kept telling myself.  My vertigo was not convinced!

After we finished at Masada the time had finally come!  We were off to the Dead Sea where we would stay for a couple of days.  Now, I like the heat, but the the Dead Sea in late July might have been too much even for me.  We changed into swimsuits and ran to the beach.  I couldn't keep Carlo out of the sea.  He loved it, and I took plenty of photos of him in a reclining pose, with nothing but the salty sea water holding him up.  The girls hunted for unusual shaped salt formations, and we played at the pool.  Otherwise, it was too hot to go outside, and Mom and Dad had to stay indoors quite a bit.  The food was OK - but nothing to write (home) about.

Check it out!  Carlo is actually floating in the Dead Sea!

The trip back from the Dead Sea to Jerusalem was eventful.  First of all, we went to the Ahava factory.  It was fabulous!  I am a huge fan, and Carlo had to hold me back from buying one of everything.  Then our driver stopped at a gas station nearby.  There was a man with camels.  Sara was a little older and a great sport.  She hopped right on.  Becca was a little thing - not quite 5 years old - and terrified.  I offered to go on with her, but that was a no go.   In the end, I ended up on the camel!  And so it came to be that Carlo took a picture, but the camel must have had a better smile than I did, because it ended up being one of the big hits of his collection. 

Sara and I going for a camel ride!

My smiling camel!


We arrived in Jerusalem and settled into our hotel.  The kids loved having their own room - and immediately went to work setting up their room - placing their beloved stuffed animals on their beds and stocking their bar fridge with snacks and treats.

Introducing Bubbles and Rory

Everywhere we went, the first thing
the girls did was set up their little fridge!

And then it was time to experience Ha'eer Ha'atika (the ancient city).  We walked from our hotel to the Jaffa Gate and into the Shuk (market).  Carlo and the kids had never seen anything like it.  They were in awe as we walked through the cobbled winding alleys, discovering hidden treasures in each little cove and shop.

The Jerusalem Shuk is divided into 4 quarters:
Jewish, Armenian, Christian & Muslim

Although many AD symptoms were obvious to us by this point, Mom was lucid and determined to share all that she knew of Jerusalem with Carlo and the girls.  And then it was time...we finally arrived at the Kotel (Western Wall).  I had been there before, but this time was different - this was the only time in my lifetime that I would be there with my mother and my daughters.  Did I realize it at the time?  I cannot remember.  Oh Mama...

The wall is divided by a mechitza (dividing wall that separates men and women during prayer in the orthodox synagogues, and at the Kotel).  Mom and I took the girls and we began to approach the Wall on the Women's side.  I remember being overwhelmed with emotion as we reached the beautiful golden stones, touching them, and making sure that we got the girls right up to the front, to touch the Kotel and say a prayer.  I am not a particularly religious or observant person, but I remember feeling the embrace of G-d, and an indescribable connection to my people over our history spanning 5 many millions of us have touched these stones, seeking a connection to G-d and to goodness?

At the Kotel

We saw many beautiful and meaningful sites in Jerusalem, but at the end of each touring day, we would stop at a fabulous restaurant where we would indulge in the most delicious food.  I drove Carlo a little nuts by insisting that we photograph some of my favourites!  But he paid me back in spades by making me stop, over and over and over (every opportunity we got) to try a cappuccino.  He was amazed and impressed at how delicious and well-made the cappuccinos are in Israel - marvelling at how he did not have even one bad cup during our whole stay.

Montefiore Restaurant, where I had
 the most delicious Israeli Salad!

Montefiore's Windmill in Yemin Moshe, our friend,
the late Yonah Mach, lived right by the Windmill.
As a little girl, I thought he lived in the Windmill!
In my heart it will always be Yonah's Windmill.

What kid doesn't love McDonald's?  

We had the best pasta in all of Israel at this restaurant...delish!

The sign reads "Shnitzi"...we never
actually ate there, but I loved the sign!

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  On a sad note, it marked the closing of one chapter of our family's connection with Eretz Yisrael - it was Mom's final visit there - but on a happier and hopeful note, it marked what I hope will be the beginning of a lifelong love affair between Carlo, our girls and Mom's Israel.  

Thank you for joining me on this trip down memory lane.  Happy Birthday Israel!

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Bubbie's Large Butter Cream Icing

Everything happens for a reason.  And this weekend was no exception.  Baking and busyness are great antidotes for my AD doldrums.

For the first time since Friday evening, I am sitting down and relaxing (and eating the decadent Chelsea buns I made earlier today).  Between baking, and running errands, celebrating my cousin Michael's 50th birthday, running more errands, chauffeuring the kids to their many commitments this weekend, and more baking, I have not had a minute to relax.  Not that I am complaining, I think I am happiest when I am busy.

As my FB subscribers already know (press here to fan our page), I volunteered to make cupcakes and meringues for the Dance Relay for Life in Aurora, taking place next month.  I knew it was going to be a hectic day today, so I set about baking yesterday.  I made the cupcakes (just plain white cake) and then I needed an icing for them.  I remembered seeing a recipe of Bubbie Lou's in Mom's cookbook, and finally -after going through the jumble of pages at least 3 times - I found it.

I followed the recipe to a "T" and then tested it on Becca and her best was a little too runny.  As Bubbie Lou directed, I kept adding more and more icing sugar until the icing reached a consistency that I was happy with.  I iced 21 cupcakes, then topped them off with little sugar flowers.  Would you believe that I did not eat a single one!?!  It's true!  

I am thrilled to report that the cupcakes sold out quickly!  Hurray!  Bubbie Lou's icing passed the taste  test and even better, money was raised for a good cause.  Next year I will double or triple my efforts.  Apparently Mama's meringues were a huge hit!  So, I am a happy camper.  

Today, I realized that there were no cupcakes left for my family, so I whipped up another 24, and iced a few in honour of the upcoming Israel Independence Day.  Then I discovered it is inappropriate to get a head start on this celebration, as we still need to observe and commemorate Yom Hazikaron - Remembrance Day for our fallen soldiers.  So, the pictured cupcakes will have to get eaten quickly (somehow I do not think it will be a problem) and then I will ice another batch on Wednesday.

And now, I will leave you with the icing recipe, along with my suggestions. 

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Bubbie Lou's Large Butter Cream Icing

½ lb (8 oz or 1C) butter ** for a firmer consistency, use 4oz (or ½C) butter  and  4oz (or ½C) Crisco
2 eggs (I would reduce it to 1)
1C icing sugar 
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter. Add egg(s), vanilla and icing sugar.  Blend at medium speed for 5 minutes.  Try 1 cup of sugar to start, and then add more sugar as needed until you reach the consistency you like.