for the love of trees

This Shabbat, the calendar works out so that it is also Tu b’Shevat, aka the new year for trees. This is a time that is generally marked with ecological awareness. I’ve cared for and written about the environment for about thirty years now (thankfully you don’t have access to those early writings, though they were pretty good for an elementary school student). I’m surprised and dismayed to discover I’ve been mostly silent here about this topic.

I use quite a significant amount of paper each year. How do I reconcile that with caring for the environment?

photo of several Clairefontaine and Rhodia notebooks in PSG's collection.

My favourite notebooks are from Clairefontaine and Rhodia. Why do I love them so very much? They are made from pulp and wood by-products from forests independently certified by PEFC or FSC as sustainably managed.


Clairefontaine manufactures their own paper. This provides them complete control over the entire process. They’ve reduced their water consumption, the paper is chlorine-free, they use natural inks (which I believe they purchase), supply most of the energy (80%) necessary for the manufacturing process, and are committed to reducing waste.

These are important things to me, every day. These issues should be important to you as well. If we don’t take care of what we have today, there will be nothing left for tomorrow.

This ראש השנה לאילנות I decided to help raise awareness about how one company is working to make a difference. Another company doing so is Tom Bihn, with their UPS shipping Carbon Neutral Program.

Do you have a favourite company that is doing so? Please let me know.

photo collage of Clairefontaine sustainability marks on three different notebooks

Additional reading:

I’ve received many products from Exaclair USA and Tom Bihn over the years, some may be shown in this blog post. I have purchased even more on my own, the FTC wants you to know. There are no affiliate links in this post.

l’shanah tovah!



May you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year! Love & purrs from Shadow & Buddy and our current group of foster kittens.



baking for Purim – Hamentaschen

Next week is Purim, I haven’t yet started cooking, so thought I’d link last year’s post on hamentaschen (and Pi Day) and some links for new combinations that have caught my eye.

Last year I used my favourite pie crust for the cookie. They were easy and amazing.

Hamentaschen step 5

The traditional fillings are lekvar (prune butter), apricot jam, and poppy seed filling.

That has not stopped many from coming up with different and unique fillings. I’ve not any of the following, but they definitely sound interesting!

These savory easy pulled BBQ brisket hamentaschen would be really good in my parve/vegan pie crust.


These Egg Roll Hamentaschen would be easy and yummy for the seudah (meal).

l’shanah tovah!

May you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!
Love & purrs from Shadow & Buddy and Greta & Hans (our current foster kittens)

ps at the moment each time you refresh the page, images will be in a different order. I couldn’t decide so I put it on random.

with olive trees and honey

Over the years I’ve fine tuned my permanent cookbook collection, a very select few gain space on the shelf. Most of the cookbooks I page through for inspiration are ebooks borrowed from the library. When I find myself checking the same book out every few weeks for several months, it likely deserves a place on my shelf. When it’s a book that is considered a classic and includes fascinating historical research in addition to a collection of yummy recipes, that book goes on the list.

Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
ISBN13: 9780764544132

Olive Trees and Honey is one of those books that I was surprised to discover I didn’t own, and over the past few months I’d been checking it out frequently, and just enjoying reading it. It recently became part of my collection and when I have time to browse it at leisure and actually make more of the recipes, I expect I’ll write more about it soon.

Yesterday I made shlishkes, Hungarian potato dumplings. I’ve made other potato dumplings over the years, my family recipe is different.

They were amazing. As my oven was already on for other items I was making, I chose to toss them in butter, paprika, and matzoh meal and bake them.

I’m saddened to note that Mr Marks passed away earlier this month due to lung cancer (he was not a smoker). May his memory be a blessing.