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3 weeks to go until Rosh Hashanah (Recipe hunt is on!)

Time to get thinking about Rosh Hashanah more seriously.

I have done most of the things on my early prep list. That means clothing and pjs ordered for the kids, seats bought, etc. I still have to buy things for me–that’s one of the hardest things, I think!

Now it’s time to menu plan! On Rosh Hashanah, we have different minhagim about what foods we eat to make a yehi ratzon (May it be Your will…) on, or simanim. The wishes range from destroying our enemies (dates) to having lots of children (fish). (Here is a good resource for the text and some more information on these customs, and recipes). We want our year to be good and sweet so we eat those foods. We don’t want a sour or bitter year, so avoid those flavors. (We also avoid nuts, which has to do with the Hebrew word being similar to the word for “sin.”)

The most common simanim (in the US, at least!) seem to be apples, honey, and round challot. Many people also add carrots.  My husband is Sephardi, so we follow those traditions and use:

  • Round Challot
  • Apples
  • Honey
  • Dates
  • Banana (or other vegetable not normally eaten with meal)
  • Leek
  • Swiss Chard
  • Black eyed peas (or fenugreek)
  • Gourd (e.g. squash, pumpkin)
  • Pomegranate
  • Head of the fish/lamb/ram (OK, fish head it is. That’s about what I can cope with here!)
  • New fruit (2nd night)

By the time we get through those, we often don’t have much room for other food! I try to use the same foods in a more recognizable form for the simanim seder itself (just a little for each person) and then to make a bigger portion for the actual seuda meal. Off to my recipe hunt I go!

You might notice that these links are actually to my previous posts moved to my new website: OrganishJewishHome.com All the good stuff from silverblessings is there, plus some new printable lists and more! Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Menu planning Monday

We’re continuing on with the pantry/refrigerator/freezer challenge this week. Nothing much going on here this week that will affect our menu plan except 6 (maybe 8) guests for Shabbat lunch.

Breakfasts: Yogurt and cereal with milk, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, plus fruit.

Lunches: Sandwiches, bagels, pasta.

Sunday: Zucchini soup and challah

Monday: (Clean Out the Refrigerator Night) CORN.

Tuesday: (Breakfast for dinner) Pancakes (somehow, we have a TON of syrup in the pantry)

Wednesday: Taco night (ground beef from the freezer)

Thursday: (Pasta night!) Pasta with garlic peanut sauce and breadsticks, veggie plate.

Friday: Challah, salads (zhug, olive tapenade, roasted eggplant salad, pepper salad, carrot salad, hummus), potato kugel, brown sugar noodle kugel, squash kugel, spice rubbed chicken.

Shabbat: Challah, salads, oriental chicken nuggets, potato kugel, brown sugar noodle kugel, squash kugel, chamin with jachnoon and brown eggs, shwarma pie, pumpkin spice cake with vanilla drizzle.

Zhug

Zhug is a really spicy, strongly flavored Yemenite hot sauce. My husband loves it with pretty much everything, but especially roasted eggplant and challah. (I don’t remember where I got this recipe–years ago–but the measurements are approximate.)

Zhug

1 lb serrano peppers
5 whole heads garlic
1 C or 1 bunch cilantro
2t crushed red pepper
1/2 t cumin
pinch of salt, or to taste

Check greens, peel garlic, and cut tops off peppers. Process peppers, garlic, and cilantro until texture you like, we do to semi smooth paste. Add in remaining ingredients, stir. Stores well in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Mouth and eye-wateringly good! Very Happy

Simplify!

Why has life become so crazy for many of us?

We run frantically from activity to activity, bring home bags of food and goods from stores, and store closets of things “just in case.” Our culture values stuff, and we obliging collect it!

How many extra pairs of shoes do you have? How many unread books–or those you won’t read again? How many kitchen appliances that you rarely if ever use? What takes up your storage space?

What’s worth keeping and what’s not? It’s something that I struggle with. I have every size of kids clothing stored (but have had three boys going through them), maternity and nursing clothes (used 4 times in the past 7 years), and then different sizes of clothing as I go up and down in sizes. It feels like so much, but I use them with my pregnancies and kids!

I constantly worry about throwing things into the Goodwill bin because I might need them–but I actually might. Plus my wardrobe needs have changed. I don’t need quite so much professional clothing in different sizes. I need to let go of some of it and lighten up.

Then there are the things I use only on occasion – waffle maker, griddle, and more. What’s worth keeping?

Still working on that. All of this stuff can really weigh a person down! I’m planning on setting up a bag goal when I get back from my family’s house. Anyone want to join?

A little off track…

So I got a little off track…I caught a tummy bug that left me so dehydrated and ill, I had my first ever visit to a hospital L and D and was admitted overnight for all sorts of IVs and medications (can you say OUCH for IV potassium?!) My tummy is still getting back to normal over a week later.

But life and little boys go on, so we’ve been working through the pantry challenge I set two weeks ago. We bought fresh fruits and veggies, dairy, some meats, and have relied on the pantry and the freezer for the rest. I’m hoping to turn part of my kitchen over in a month or so to cook and prep, so we need to make room!

I’m also starting to buy Pesach things on sale as I find them–the stores are starting to get some stock in. I found some matza meal we use for less than a dollar a pound! I will take advantage of deals as I find them and help spread out the cost. (See more about my Passover planner HERE.)

So I’m a little behind where I anticipated being in my kitchen, but moving along. And I’ll be OK, because I planned some extra time in my schedule because life happens!

Getting crunchier by the minute!

It’s amazing how the paths of our lives change. Ten years ago, I couldn’t have imagined how my life would go.

I started this journey thinking a few kids, hospitals for the birth, some general thoughts about breastfeeding, send them off to school, and then to college.

I’m not quite to the college thing yet–my oldest is 6. But the others have been tossed out.

I’m expecting my fourth child (in 6.5 years). I have never had a hospital birth–2 birth centers, 1 at home, and if this pregnancy continues to go as planned, please God!, I will have this child at home. I have exclusively breastfed every child. And I am now homeschooling.

I have started using more homeopathic remedies and aromatherapy. And last night, I melted coconut oil, shea butter, almond oil, vitamin e, and some essential oils into my own pregnancy skin oil. (Either that, itch myself raw, spend $12 a week on a body butter that worked, or smell mentholated like Gold Bond!)

Last night, as I prepared the oil, I realized how different things are from my original plan. And it’s such a good thing! What did teenage/20 year old me know about what my life should be like?

When you say no to something…

you are saying yes to something else. This was something I read today, and it really hit home. I think sometimes I let things that I feel like need to be done get in the way of the things I want to focus on in my life; family, friends, myself!

From now on, I want to say yes to more things that are important in my life, and no to those that are less important.

So yes, boys, I will read you a story. No, laundry, you can wait.

Yes, my baby, I will rock you. No, telephone, the answering machine can take it.

Yes, my body. You are exhausted, and I will rest. No, work, you can wait.

I feel enlightened by this new way of thinking. I only hope to actually apply it!