Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Putting up the Sukkah

Putting up the sukkah is always a fun family activity! First we have to go to the garden store to buy the schach (in our case, we use corn stalks) and we always check out the pumpkins as well. Look at the size of those pumpkins! (And aren't they cute too? Oh wait, I meant the kids.)

Then the sukkah comes out...

I really love Sukkot.
If you'll look back at previous years, you might notice that we're wearing shorts as we put up the sukkah. But not this year...

Stay tuned for pics of the "finished product" and more on this great holiday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tomato Monsters

Earlier in the summer, I posted about my garden.

I must admit, it's been a pretty pathetic growing season for me.

And inspired by the Homeshuler, I realized that I had never updated you, my wonderful faithful readers, with these adorable tomato monsters.

This was about the extent of our crop:

Really, every time we picked anything, especially the grape tomatoes (which were the best-growing plant), this happened:

(Notice the one in her hand as well.) She and Sam would eat them as fast they could be picked. And occasionally, I found myself saying "no, you can't eat the tomatoes, we won't have any for the salad" and then I'd realize the ridiculousness of what I was saying! My children were clamoring for say no would be crazy!!! So most of the tomatoes ended up in little hands and mouths.

Better to have tomato monsters than cookie monsters any day....

I'm looking forward to next year. Just this week I ordered a new raised garden bed from NaturalYards, and I'll try to remember to update you when it arrives. I'm hoping to get it settled so I can plant a big ol' crop next summer.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Hope You Don't Have An Easy Fast

It's customary to greet one another in the days before Yom Kippur with the words "tzom kal" - "may you have an easy fast."

And I've decided that this is a terrible greeting.

I don't want my fast to be easy.

I want my fast to be purposeful. I want my fast to be meaningful. I want my fast to remind me that people are starving in the world. I want my fast to remind me that my spiritual self has work to do. I want to feel the light-headedness that comes at the end of the day when I've been on my feet for almost 12 hours leading services and I want that moment to lift me up and help me feel a true connection to God.

So this year I'm not wishing anyone an easy fast. May your fast be full of all that you need it to be. May your fast be powerful and purposeful and meaningful.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Found in Translation...

The new movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, came out over the Rosh HaShanah weekend. For obvious reasons, we haven't seen it yet, so this isn't a movie review.

Some movies are translated directly from one language to another. But this one...

"Rain of Felafel"

Sounds about right to me!

Kippah tip to Mixed Multitudes.
(Can't wait to see the movie. It's one of my favorite books!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Shana tova!

From my family to yours...May you have a year full of joy, goodness, health, and peace.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yummy Mock Chopped Liver, I Promise!

Rabbis do a lot of stuff to prepare for the holidays. Most of us write sermons and freak out. I do that in spades, trust me.

I do not "make yontif" - generally the expression used to explain all the meal prep, cleaning, and welcoming of guests. For obvious reasons, I'm rarely around for the holiday meals. But I do love to cook and bake, as you might know. So I try to make something for the yontif table.

This year, my synagoguge held a Rosh HaShanah cooking class. The instructor, a wonderful woman named Ruth Ross, demonstrated a recipe for mock chopped liver that I totally fell in love with.

(Sidebar: I'm a vegetarian, as you might also know. I don't think I've eaten real chopped liver in 20 years.)

When she made it, she brought out a small container filled with deeply beautiful caramelized onions. She explained that they take 5-6 hours to slow-cook but add the right depth of flavor to the chopped "liver." I was totally sold.

I started with the onions, about five pounds, sliced.
Cooked for about 5 hours (with the help of my mom and dad who were hanging around for the day)
You can see how they cook down:
The finished onion product looked like this:

Then I refrigerated the onions (which they tell me will keep for a week or so, but I did add some to my eggs this morning...mmm....they won't last long.)
Now, onto the recipe:
1 cup lentils cooked in 2 cups water until tender (or one package of Trader Joe's prepared lentils...shhh)
about a cup of those amazing onions. or more
a smidge of oil
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes
3 hard boiled eggs
Put the walnuts and onions in the food processor, and pulse til chopped.
Add lentils, and process until smooth. Add oil as needed but not too much.
Add eggs, add salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Chill and eat!
P.S. Don't want to make the crazy onions? Just take 2 onions, chop and saute in a little oil. Then use those. Won't be quite as complex and amazing but it will be pretty darn good.

Absolutely delicious. Even the Abba thinks so!

May your new year be sweet, wonderful, and full of delicious smells and tastes.
May you find happiness and contentment, blessings and peace.
Shana tova!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

To Live Long and Well....

My great-uncle celebrated his 90th birthday last week.

He has played saxophone and clarinet almost his whole life...and he hasn't quit yet!

What an amazing inspiration...may we all be blessed to live so long and so well.

Happy birthday, Uncle Joe!

Haveil Havalim is up over at the Reform Shuckle.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh Nuts Winner

Thanks to, the winner of the giveaway from Oh Nuts! is Michelle from What's Cooking...thank you all for participating! (How cool is that, Michelle?)

You can still win in other ways:
1. Go to the Oh Nuts Facebook page and write on the wall your favorite Rosh Hashanah Gift.

2. Follow @ohnuts and  Tweet

Win a free Rosh Hashanah Gift from Follow @ohnuts and Retweet to enter
(Click here to tweet this!
Thank you, Oh Nuts, for giving me this great giveaway!
Shana tova - Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who comes up with this stuff?

Someday I will figure out what starts a "meme" - like, do people sit around and think up this stuff!?

Reiza tagged me for this photo meme, and so here goes...

The rules are:

1. Open the 4th file where you store your photos
2. Pick the 4th picture
3. Explain the photo
4. Pass the challenge on to 4 other bloggers

(Leora did this too, by the way)

Anyway, this was a little complicated. I have a lot of folders. So I started by looking in my Pictures folder, and the fourth folder down actually happened to be "Family Pics" which is where I store almost all of my pictures. Score! Then I went down four, and it was 2007...and the fourth folder in there was Yael at 6 days old...and the fourth picture was a little naked tushy...which was not appropriate for this very family-friendly blog, not to mention that I have to draw a line somewhere! So I went back up a few levels and decided that I would go with the fourth folder in the current year's pictures (yes, I'm ridiculously organized about my photos), which happened to be from the end of January, a sunny day in the snow:

Pretty self-explanatory, isn't it...?

Also funny, because just last week I finally finished putting a Shutterfly album together that I began last Fall...Sukkot through Lag B' I just recently looked at these pictures!

Okay, I know I'm supposed to tag 4 people but I'm so bad at if you're reading, consider yourself tagged!

Oh my goodness, I just figured out who comes up with these memes - people who are trying to procrastinate on their holiday preparations!!! I knew it!!!

P.S. AND...there's still time to enter my Rosh haShanah Giveaway from Oh Nuts - you have until September 10th so go click over NOW!!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Things to Read...

While you're procrastinating on writing your sermons...oh wait, is that just me? Well, while you're looking for something to do, here's this week's Haveil Havalim, a weekly roundup of the Jewish-Israeli Blogosphere.

And since I have been too busy lately to remember to submit posts, a roundup of my favorite posts from my own blog in the past few weeks:

Where Yael hid my shoes

Yummy Muffins (ask FrumeSarah, she says so too!)

Welcoming the month of Elul

AND...there's still time to enter my Rosh haShanah Giveaway from Oh Nuts -  you have until September 10th so go click over NOW!!!!

Hope you're having a great Labor Day Weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rosh HaShanah Giveaways

It's the first of September, which means that things are moving rapidly toward (gulp) the Jewish New Year.

In honor of these days of preparation, I offer two giveaways!

The first, you can go and get for yourself. It's truly a gift that you get each day in your inbox. It's called Jewels of Elul (see the big ol' button on the left-hand column over there?) and it's a wonderful collection of writings by various people on the theme of forgiveness. Click on over there and sign up for their free daily emails. It will be a wonderful addition to your High Holy Day preparations. (And for you rabbi-pals out there, it might give you some much-needed sermon inspiration!)

The second one is courtesy of Oh Nuts! Here's why I like them: First, they have great products! Second, they are kosher, which is great. Third, I'm really impressed by their marketing on Facebook and Twitter. They've built a great following and use the social media really well. (Oh and fourth, they seem to like me, which is nice.)

THREE WAYS to win - 2 from them and one through my lil' ol' blog. (Aren't you lucky?!)

1. To go to the Oh Nuts Rosh HaShanah gifts page.

Choose your favorite Rosh Hashanah Gift and leave a comment  HERE with the name of the gift. 
Tweet my giveaway for an extra entry...

(Did you see those yummy-looking chocolate-dipped apples!? Heaven, I tell you.)

On Thursday Sept 10, I will pick a random winner and Oh Nuts will send you a $20 gift from their site! What could be better?

2. Go to the Oh Nuts Facebook page and write on the wall your favorite Rosh Hashanah Gift.

3. Follow @ohnuts and  Tweet

Win a free Rosh Hashanah Gift from Follow @ohnuts and Retweet to enter
(Click here to tweet this!)

Absolutely full disclosure: if I get more than 40 comments on this post, I will get my own gift from Oh Nuts! So help me out, folks!!! Tell your friends...thanks!