Monthly Archives: July 2010

Shabbat Menu

We had the lovely young couple – Chaviva and Evan – stay with us for Shabbat. We really had a great time. They are just such awesome folk. I enjoyed sharing our home and introducing them to my kids. I spent Friday whipping up a culinary storm, and stopped occasionally to tweet and twitpic a kitchen update.

I have been asked to share the menu – in days to come I will add recipes.

Friday Night

Grapejuice and homemade gigantic Challah.

Gluten Free Gefilte fish.

Chicken soup with matzah balls.

Lemon Schnitzel – for Chaviva I made it with GF breadcrumbs.

Potato Kugel.

Crustless Sweet Potato Pie.

Quinoa with multicoloured peppers.

Fresh veggies.

Chummus.

Long Grain Rice Salad with craisins and red onions.

Green Beans with Slivered Almonds.

Cranberry-Apple Cobbler

Cinnamon Buns

Gluten Free Brownies.

Shabbat Lunch.

Grapejuice and challah.

Gluten Free Gefilte Fish

Cholent with Marrow Bones and Eggs (I used rice instead of barley).

Deli Roll.

Chopped Liver.

Quinoa with multicoloured peppers.

Fresh veggies.

Long Grain Rice Salad.

Green Beans with Slivered Almonds.

Fresh Fruit Platter.

I was a little intimidated about cooking for our GF guest – something I had never done before, but it really worked out well. No one was hungry, everyone ate well, and a good time was had by all.

We love having guests for Shabbat – and having #Tuvivah with us was truly an honour. They are an adorable couple!!

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Surprise!!!

I actually managed to pull off a surprise. Me, the woman who will never play poker because everything she thinks is written clearly on her face. I did it!!

My KoD, as you all know, is the master of all pranks and surprises – I guess I learned from the master.

Who did I surprise? My oldest child, Prince Lenny. It was his birthday last week. We don’t make big huge deals for birthdays – but he did get a little spoiled. He was out with friends all day Thursday which is when the whole surprise started taking shape.

I have blogged before about his best friend “Blessing”. Such a fine boy, a good soul, from an awesome family. We are truly honoured to have the whole family as friends. So Blessing was in Brooklyn for a few days, and wanted to come see Lenny and the whole family. He was there on his own staying with relatives and didn’t have easy access to transportation. Lenny and Blessing had a conversation but the logistics of having Blessing come see us just didn’t work out.

Thursday, Lenny was out, and Blessing’s folks called, to see if we could work something out. Blessing had to get up to the Catskills to camp today (Sunday) and if we could work that out, then he could hop on a bus with his duffel bags and trek into Monsey on Friday. I had to drive my kids up to Lake George today as they are returning to Montreal to visit with their dad for a little while – and that’s the central meeting point. I figured, on the way back I could drop Blessing off at camp, it would only take me a little bit out of my way.

So we said sure, let Blessing come join us for Shabbat, I would pick him up from the bus on Friday, and the boychickles could all hang out.

Lenny didn’t get back till very very late Thursday night and asked me if he could stay at a different friend for Shabbat. I told him it was late, and I would think about it and we’d discuss it in the morning.

By then the idea of surprising him had taken a very strong hold. He was upset that he and Blessing hadn’t managed to organize a visit – they have been best buddies for most of their lives. Then, Friday morning,  to add insult to injury, Ima told Lenny that he couldn’t stay over at his friend’s house for Shabbat. I told him I wanted him here as Chaviva and Evan would be with us for Shabbat. “but Ima….” – sorry kid, Ima said no. And No means No.

He wasn’t a happy camper. I had let Squiggy in on the secret and it was all he could do to keep from jumping up and down with glee. But he kept it to himself even though he sooo wanted to tell Lenny!

Around one pm I told the boys I had to run an errand, and was taking Squiggy with me. We went and picked up Blessing from the bus stop, and planned out how we were going to spring the surprise on Lenny.

We got home, Squiggy and I jumped out of the car in the garage, and sent Blessing round to the front door with instructions to wait 2 minutes and ring the bell.

Lenny was playing PlayStation with his two younger brothers and barely looked up when we walked in. His grumpitude was palpable.

The doorbell rang. I walked to the door and opened it – and casually called out over my shoulder, “Lenny – it’s for you!!”

He came to the door and suddenly his whole face lit up, he cracked a gigantic smile and lifted Blessing off his feet in the biggest bear hug ever.  He was so thrilled. Then we told him he was staying for Shabbat and even though Lenny was ecstatic – Ima had some splainin’ to do!! He thinks he should have been told…but I think the surprise was way better.

I was just so happy I was able to surprise him – and I got the biggest compliment from him ever. “Ima, you are turning into the KoD!”

We had an awesome Shabbat with our full house – and now it’s just me and the KoD and it’s really quiet here…..

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Heinous or Harmless – supper

We have a rule in our house, no matter where you are or who you are with, everyone is at the supper table at 6pm, and all friends must return to their own houses. The supper hour is family time for us, a time to reconnect and bask in familial love.

If you are a parent, you are familiar with the question that gets asked a million and one times from 4 pm onwards. “What’s for supper?” My favourite answer to them is “fresh air sandwiches” – after all if I am making something they have decided not to like, I will have to hear whining about if for two hours, and I am so not in the mood for that any day of the week.

I make a wicked lasagna. Really really good lasagna. But two out of the brood will not eat it. That’s fine. I know in advance and I have another option available, usually. It’s their loss, but hey, all the more for us lasagna eaters.

The other night the boys (a selection of them) decided to go hang out at a neighbour’s house around 5pm. “Be home for supper” I called to them as they left. “No problem, Ima”. And they came back by 6pm. Having eaten pizza over at their friend’s house. I was more than a little miffed. I cooked supper, was looking forward to having everyone around us at the table, they had eaten already and were not interested in sitting at the table watching everyone else eat. They had brought their friend back with them as they had plans later on together – so I was not going to embarrass them by making a big deal about it.

Is this worth making a big deal over if it’s just a one time thing? Is this typical child behaviour or does it show a lack of respect? If they left to the friend’s house with the intention of eating pizza there so they didn’t have to eat at home – to me that’s heinous, and shows premeditation and sneakitude. If it just so happened that they were over there and then decided to have pizza, it’s less heinous.

What do you think? Heinous or harmless?

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My Ideas Man

I know I boast a lot about the KoD, but people, the truth is that he is totally awesome! I tweeted today that he brought me coffee and Aleve and helped with the laundry. @TheJackB tweeted back “tell him to stop making the rest of us look bad. 😉 ” Jack – he does dishes too!

I totally know how blessed and lucky I am, and I do not take him for granted, not one little bit. Not only is he helpful with laundry and bringing me coffee and a whole host of other things, he has great ideas too.

Now this one seems so obvious to me, looking back, but I guess we get so used to doing things a certain way, that change is not seen as necessary or even possible. I guess KoD got a little fed up hearing me complain about folding the laundry, and how Mount Washmore always kept growing, and just when I thought I had finished doing laundry, the pile reproduced. (Four boys in the house means a lot of laundry). He suggested that each child fold their own laundry and put it away themselves. Sounds simple, eh? So why didn’t I think of it first?!!

Today, being the day after the fast of Tisha b’Av, I had 10 loads of laundry to do. We traditionally do not launder clothes for this nine day mourning period, and can recommence after lunchtime on the day after Tisha b’Av. I actually had time to rest my aching back in between loads, because 2/3 of the laundry was being folded by other people. What a concept!! KoD – you are a smart smart man, and not just ‘cause you married me. 😉

Sometimes it takes someone fresh to the scene to have great ideas – keep them coming, my KoD. Thanks for taking such good care of us all. We love you.

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WWYD – Chronic Illness

Recently had an email exchange with an acquaintance that left me a little frustrated. This friend is in a highly paid, well respected work environment with major responsibilities. She lives and breathes her career. She is married but has no kids, yet.

She has been recently diagnosed with a chronic ailment that is not life threatening but if she doesn’t take care of herself it could severely debilitate her. She is of the opinion that to let her superiors at work know is tantamount to giving in her resignation. She feels she will lose all respectability and credibility and will be treated as an invalid and encouraged to take disability.

I feel that her superiors should know that something is going on, so that they can be sympathetic when she has a flare up or has to take time of for tests or treatments. Perhaps they can accommodate her work needs better so that she can be more effective.

If I were a boss I would want to know what was going on with my employee.

WWYD in her situation?

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wednesday’s wacky signs

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Dear Son, Dear Heart

I am sitting here at the dining room table, gearing myself up to go back into the kitchen, so I can organize the pantry. On Friday, you were bored and decided to organize the pantry for me, and thinking it would save me from hearing “Ima, I’m bored” for the bazillionth time, I allowed you to occupy yourself in this fashion. It enabled us to chat as I cooked and you organized. I love chatting with your yummy self.

The contents of the middle shelf of the pantry are now all over the kitchen counters. I was making strawberry soup earlier and I couldn’t find my vanilla. I was making lasagna and the noodles were hiding. Finally, in a fit of pique I just removed everything, knowing that I will put it back the way it makes sense to me (ie the way it was before).

I know it kept you occupied and whine-free. But today I was whining. Come cook for a week in my kitchen, and maybe you will understand how the pantry needs to work. It’s not that I am not grateful, I am. It’s just that right now I want to rest, and instead I need to reorganize. When you feel an urge to do a tidy up – please, start with your own closets.

Love

Ima

PS I did notice how your favourite snacks were moved front and center for your ease of access. I’m just sayin’.

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The Etiquette of Borrowing

I have awesome neighbours on my block, and I am learning that if I run out of something that I do not have to drive to the store – that I can call one of my neighbours for a cup of brown sugar or the extra egg that I am missing. Last week we needed a yahrtzeit light, and because I had been sick I hadn’t been able to get to the store to buy one, so we borrowed from a neighbour.

I was brought up that anything I “borrowed” I returned. So if I borrowed a cup of sugar from you, I will return a cup of sugar once I have replenished my supply. We gave our neighbours back an identical yahrtzeit light. But we were gently told that it was totally unnecessary to return it, and that if we borrow an egg or sugar or flour, it’s not necessary at all to return it.

So I wanted to ask you what the etiquette of borrowing is on your block. At what point do you not want a borrowed item returned, and at what point do you? One egg, fine, no need to return, but if you borrow a dozen?

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TUNA CROQUETTES

3 cans tuna (albacore works well)

1 1/2 c. bread crumbs (I like to use the seasoned breadcrumbs)

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 c. mayonnaise

1 c. finely chopped celery

1 c. finely chopped onion

Vegetable  oil

Mix together all ingredients (except oil) and shape into croquettes.

Heat oil over medium heat, add croquettes.

Cook for 5 minutes, and flip them over.

Cook for 5 minutes more.

Goes well with mashed potatoes and a fresh salad.

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Gluten Free help

We are so excited to be hosting the awesome Chaviva and Evan for Shabbat soon. This is our first time hosting a married couple since the KoD and I got married many many years ago (ok 17 months, but who’s counting?!) so we are all very excited.

Chaviva is allergic or sensitive to gluten, so she doesn’t eat anything that has gluten in it. I have never ever cooked anything gluten-free. Chaviva doesn’t want me to go out of my way to make anything different or special or whatever. But, hey, I am the yiddishe mama and I want my guests to be happy and well fed.

So I am sure there are those of you out there who eat a gluten free diet, or who prepare food for those who are gluten-intolerant. Please give me easy recipes to follow so that we can all eat like kings and queens and princes without having tummy upsets afterwards.

And btw, is there gluten in gefilte fish?

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