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Winter Treats!

By: Shelley Shafran

This week in Israel is one of rains of blessing. The temperature has dropped and the Mashiv HaRu’ach has the winds howling and the rain falling. And how to remember these droves of rain, sleet and hail are a blessing when you emerge from the wind-swept day, shivering to your core? Crockpot cider, of course!
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This post is dedicated with gratitude to my best friend, Sharona Nissimi Makabi who has shown me and continues to show me the meaning of true friendship. May her father, David Ben Sarah have an enormous refuah shleima.

Harnessing the Power of Female Friendships

Health Benefits and the Power of Friendship among Women:

A study out of UCLA suggests that women respond very differently than men when under stress. The female body in its infinite wisdom increases it’s oxytocin response when under stress and this helps to buffer the fight or flight response naturally drawing her to tend to children and gather with other women. When a woman engages in this tending or befriending more oxytocin is released and this counters stress and produces an overall CALMING response. This is very different to men who produce testosterone under stress, which appears to decrease their levels of oxytocin and they often benefit a great deal from hibernating and working through stress on their own.


The famed Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that women with more closer friendships were less likely to lead a more joyful life and less prone to developing diseases or physical impairments as they aged. The results were so striking that researchers concluded that not having close friends was as detrimental to one’s health as smoking or carrying extra weight.


The “tend and befriend” notion that was developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor from UCLA helps explain why women are repeatedly outliving men. Researchers have demonstrated time and again that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lower blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol. Essentially, our friends are contributing to our longevity…possibly adding years to our lives. In addition to this when researchers studied how well women functioned after the death of their spouse they found that even in the face of grief, women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality.

As women, we bond over many things, love, friendship, life, exercise, cooking and food of course! As we settle into the loveliness of December, putting on those long johns, lighting candles and maybe going to sleep earlier than we normally would…lets take a look at how we can warm up from the inside out with a delicious new soup!

Jill’s Heavenly Thai Soup

This recipe was created by my genius, amazing friend, Jill Zucker. It is a soup that will warm you from the inside out and make you smile from the first bite!

2 Cans Coconut Milk
4 Cups Chicken Broth
Fresh Shitake & Oyster Mushrooms
Baby Corn
Fresh Ginger, ½ inch thickness sliced
Lemongrass 2-3 inches or more
Dlat (Israeli Pumpkin), 1 cup cubed
Shredded cooked chicken breast (can be taken from soup when cooking chicken broth)
Curry Seasoning or Curry Paste
Fresh scallions & Cilantro to garnish

Simmer chicken broth with sliced mushrooms, ginger, and lemongrass for 20-30 minutes. Add coconut milk and the rest of ingredients. Before serving pull lemongrass and ginger out and garnish with cilantro and scallions.




Shelley Shafran Insights for Tov Meod Teusdays!

What’s a girl to do when it’s overcast and grey? My mind was alight with visions, wrapped in warm blankets sipping hot chocolate before a roaring fireplace before the sharp chill seeped in through the cracks and corners ushering in a winter sadness and melancholy. So what do you do when you live in a small Jerusalem apartment with no fireplace to speak of and the only glow before you is a computer screen? How do you nourish yourself when the hot cocoa of your fantasies gives way to a sugar crash and lethargy of your nightmares? I present to you my “instant” sustainable mood-booster. Read more