Archive for the ‘Passover’ Category

After Pesach lists and help

I know, you want to put everything away and out of sight ASAP. But really, taking a little more time as you put things away will make things SO MUCH easier next year, and for future years! Print this out now so it’s ready right after Pesach goes out.

Here is a list of lists that you can and should make after Passover–and put them somewhere you will remember them. On your computer, in a household management book, etc.

  • Inventory (what do you have for Pesach?) I split mine into Milk, Meat, and Parve cookware/utensils, carryover food, Judaica (Seder plate, kos, afikomen bag, etc.), and then other things. If you already have this, just update!
  • Wishlist: what you want for next year’s Pesach. Missing a cutting board, knife, or just want another pan? Write it down and shop throughout the year.
  • What you used: As you shop, write how much of something you bought, and after Pesach, write how much you used. That way, you’ll know you need only 10 pounds of potatoes instead of 25, or need 7 dozen eggs instead of 5. How much grape juice/wine/matza/shmura matzah? All of this will help your future self.
  • What worked, what didn’t: Did anything flop? Was anything a hit? These could be recipes or things you did. Did something make your day a ton easier? Note it for future years!
  • Shailas you asked, traditions, etc – anything that is specific to your Pesach. This will jog your memory in the future.
  • Keep the menus, shopping lists, and cleaning plan for next year–you can work off of it and it will make it less difficult.

Erev Pesach checklist

Here is my erev Pesach checklist. I originally got it from a Jewish homemaking listserve. I have modified it to suit me – please do the same! These things do not all need to be done today, but they are things that need to be done BY today. I also find listing all the times together helps me keep track. Here we go!


Stop eating chometz; brush teeth by______AM

Burn chometz by _____AM

Sell chometz; all locked away: by  _____AM

Candlelighting: by _____PM

Food: cook/check ready

Matzah Ball Soup x 2 nights

Hardboiled eggs – 1 doz

Lamb stew

Potato Kugel

Side kugel (spinach/broccoli/squash)

Boil Potato (Karpas)

Check/cut up salads

Cookies / dessert

Other to do:

Grocery if needed

Chill wine and bring up grape juice for seder

Final vacuuming

Empty vacuum bin

Laundry: fold and  put away last load

Dust as needed

Dishes/pots clean!

Bathroom shined

Call family members to wish a happy Pesach

Set table (picture if time! Of course, those with young children may need to wait longer to actually set the table or the kiddo may pull the whole tablecloth down onto themselves. Ahem. Hypothetical, of course.)

Set out hagadot and pillows for leaning

Bathe kids (and take the time to smell their shining, clean hair!)

Haircuts (as needed – preferably several days earlier!)

Cut nails


Prepare candles x 2 nights

Lights (set lights and timers)

Tear paper towels and tp

Empty Kitchen Garbage

Coins into tzedaka bank

Sweep Kitchen Floor

Check “public” bathroom for clean towels and surfaces

Prepare for SEDER

Set up on seder plate:

Charoset (apples, cinnamon, dates, etc.)

Zeroa (Roasted shankbone)

Baytza (Roasted egg)

Maror (Grate fresh)

Lettuce (Check for bugs)

Karpas (Parsley/Romaine)

And other things to prepare:

Salt Water (Mix before Yom Tov)

Check Matzos (3 or more shmura need to be whole!)

Set up plata/blech

Fill hot water urn

Get out matza cover, Eliyahu’s cup, afikomen bag, etc.

Set up timers as needed

Turn off or put away cellphone / computer/ electronics

Put away camera

Set Shabbat lamps in bedrooms

Check thermostat

Prep new toys/books – make sure they are easily accessible

Set out pjs for smaller kids so when they crash, it’s ready!

Drink and eat something

Enter Pesach a FREE woman (or man)!

3 days to go.

3 days to go: (Regular Pesach, 2011: April 16 evening and  17 – schedule this year makes shorter than normal)

(See more about my Passover planner HERE. Week 6 is the first in the series of lists.)

Stay calm and continue with your plans. Redemption is almost here–the end is in sight!

-Continue to follow schedule to prep food and freeze

-Be sure to feed your family according to your menu plan–avoid those grumpies!

-Prep search and biur (remember your traditions! e.g. defrost taken challah, find lulav, candle wicks, etc…)

-Tape off basement closets and freezer, anything else needed to be sold-and mark!

-Shop for produce and meat, anything else last minute–but don’t stock up too much on the sweets!

-Get fresh flowers to brighten up the house.

-Check times for the last time for chametz, time for biur, for candle lighting each day, and any other times you need. Write on erev Pesach checklist.

-Follow up with guests to remind and get any last minute information

-Laundry (we don’t normally do laundry on Passover, so everything should be clean at the start!)

-Haircuts for all if you haven’t yet (we don’t normally get haircuts for a little over a month after this!)

1 week to go, and still buying chametz!

I went out to the grocery store tonight. Mostly for produce, especially fruit, which we go through at an amazing rate! But I also got some non-passover snack-type things that my kiddos love. I got comments on how brave I was to be buying chametz still…at 1 week to go.

Really? Brave? I guess I prefer to eat regular foods until the time to stop has come. Now, I’m not buying certain really crumby or messy things, but I got some rice cakes (2 boys’ favorite snack), donuts (Shabbat morning treat, to be served outside), and a few other things along with the melon, apples, grapes, and kiwi. But brave?

It’s interesting to me how long Passover has stretched out in people’s minds. It used to be much simpler in simpler times – with only a pot or two to kasher and little food storage, things were much different. Now, there are people who already are completely kashered for Pesach! Not that eating Passover food is a punishment, but there is so much that we deny ourselves unnecessarily. We shouldn’t be adding the the requirements. Some is necessary, yes, but how much is really what’s in question.

At times like these, I’m grateful for menu planning, which allows us to eat things we like until the time we actually have to stop. The kitchen, iyh, will be cleaned and kashered Thursday and Friday, but we will still use chametz things: our crockpot, our toaster (waffles are a pre-pesach tradition reheated in the toaster), and pre-baked challah.We’ll likely be eating our meals on Sunday, and possibly Shabbat, al fresco, but that’s part of the adventure.

We’ll enjoy our chametz until the end, probably finishing off those donuts before the Monday morning deadline with just enough time for brushing our teeth, thank you very much.  😉

1 week to go: Kitchen cleaning and turnover cooking

1 week to go: Kitchen cleaning and turnover cooking (Regular Pesach, 2011: April 10-15)

(See more about my Passover planner HERE. Week 6 is the first in the series of lists.)

This is the week where all of your careful planning and scheduling come together. No one likes to have the kitchen done too early and eat Pesach food for an extra week! It’s a balancing act between getting enough time to do the job right and not losing your mind.

Dining Room

  • Clean
  • Cover counter top/sideboard
  • Clean/kasher/cover blech
  • Clean hot water kettle
  • Tape off cupboards, drawers, etc
  • Double cover table
  • Wipe down chairs, including cracks and seams of seats
  • Put chametz crockpot, serving pieces, dishes, etc. away


  • Clean and kasher according to plan (see separate post for planning ideas)
  • Tape off cabinets and fridge shelf with chametz, mark
  • Clean fridge shelves and reline if needed
  • Empty and clean freezer (often moved earlier if I’ve had the chance to prepare food earlier)

Shop for anything remaining except fresh produce/meat desired fresh. Check orders of these, if needed.

Check your cups for volume! Depending upon your minhag, there is a certain amount you need to have in each of the 4 cups of wine/grape juice you drink at the seder. Do your cups hold that much? (Too much is also a problem because you have to drink the majority of the cup you have no matter what size, so those extra ounces can add up quickly!)

Cook and freeze food according to plan (see food prep planning post)

Laundry (we don’t normally do laundry on Passover, so everything should be clean at the start!)

Haircuts for all who will need (We don’t normally get haircuts for the next month (during the Omer), so do it while you can.)

Tovel (dip in mikvah) anything you haven’t done yet.

Hang in there! The end is in sight!

2 weeks to go: Finish cleaning and organizing

2 weeks to go: Finish cleaning and organizing (Regular Pesach, 2011: April 3 – April 9)

(See more about my Passover planner HERE. Week 6 is the first in the series of lists.)

Finish cleaning house except dining room and kitchen (For me, this means family room, living room, entryway, and anything I’ve fallen behind on)

Clean miscellaneous child stuff

  • Strollers
  • Car seats
  • Cars
  • Diaper bags
  • High chair (will need to be cleaned again later, obviously, but getting it done now means less work later!)

Clean out purse(s) and reusable shopping bags

Clean and line 1-2 cabinets to store purchased Pesach stuff

Keep running box to donate and schedule time to donate before Pesach, if possible

Open Pesach inventory and review.

Shop for remaining physical items, like wine glasses, haggadot, afikomen presents, etc.

Review pet care needs and begin switching pets to Pesach diet by mixing in a little new food with old–gradually increase new.

Run errands as scheduled (toiveling items)

Get through any laundry back-up (we don’t normally do laundry for the week of Passover, so clear everything you can now.)

Cooking day today!

The ovens are cleaned, the stovetop is covered, my sink is prepped, and my table is ready. Passover cooking, here I come!

At the request of some people, here is what I will be feeding my freezer today iyh:

  • roasted eggplant dip
  • zhug (spicy pepper relish)
  • 2 sweet potato pies (regular chametz recipe we like, small amount of flour to sub for matza cake meal.)
  • 2 spiced beef/lamb minas (Sephardic meat pies; ground meat with cinnamon, allspice, herbs, raisins, and I’m sure I’m forgetting some other things.)
  • 2 spinach puddings (kugels/quiches)
  • pan of potato latkes
  • 2 pans of lamb stew
  • 4 servings each chicken: sweet and sour, spiced, and maybe grape juice or another kind (raw)
  • 4 lbs raw meatballs
  • quadruple batch chocolate chip cookies (my regular recipe, but half matza cake meal and half nut flour substituted for the flour)
  • big pan lemon bars
  • 3 coffee cakes

I’ll also be prepping some things in advance, including:

  • chopping /grinding nuts (for things like charoset)
  • chopping and sauteeing onions (for freezer)
  • chopping and freezing garlic

Busy day ahead! This should cover the bulk of our Passover needs so we can all enjoy ourselves and meet our newest addition iyh with peace and sanity. I couldn’t even plan it without a WONDERFUL husband who will be taking the three young boys out for a Daddy-son day of fun so I can work without distraction.

And off I go…