Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mini Crustless Quiches {Passover Recipe}

Crustless quiches sounded like a delicious addition to our Pesach repertoire!

With thanks to Mara over at Kosher on a Budget for the inspiration, here's what I came up with, after reading a whole lot of crustless quiche recipes:

Whisk together 6 eggs and about 1 cup of whole milk. Add about 1/2 a cup of Parmesan, some nice pepper and salt. Preheat oven to 350 and spray your mini-muffin tin (24 cups) with cooking spray.

Into each cup, put a little bit of vegetables* and a little bit of shredded cheese (I used cheddar) and then pour the egg mixture over them until they're all covered. You can pour all the way up to the top of the cups.

Bake for about 30 minutes until slightly brown on top and puffed up.

As soon as they come out of the oven, run a knife around the edge of each quiche and turn them out onto a wire rack to cool. We ate ours at room temperature but they're good hot, cold, or anywhere in between!

*I used frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed out, as well as some caramelized onions. I can see how almost anything would work here. Just don't overfill the cups.

A delicious addition to your Pesach food offerings!
What's your favorite Passover recipe?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pesach Make-Your-Own Charoset Oasis

There are many different ways to observe the holiday of Passover.
In my own personal custom, I'm pretty committed to the idea of one Seder, on the first night of the holiday. A second seder has always felt, well, secondary. It lacks the excitement, the enthusiasm, the delight (albeit short-lived) of that first taste of matzah. 

But I love a good party.

So I don't usually turn down the idea of a second-night-of-Passover Party.

Oh, and since I also love to teach and discuss and enjoy traditions, I don't mind throwing a few of the Seder customs into that second-night-of-Passover party.

Often, our second seder is somewhat experimental. 

So this year, we tried a few new things.
First, we set up a tent in our living room. Our living room isn't very big, so the tent took up most of the space. But it did allow us to ask a fifth question - "what's with the tent!?"

I had hoped it would spark a discussion of what it would be like to wander in the desert, what we would pack if we had to leave on a moment's notice. Alas, it wasn't quite as sparky as I'd hoped. But the kids loved having a tent. And Big Bear loved having a room of his own.

The more successful innovation was this Make-Your-Own Charoset Oasis:
(As named by my friend Rabbi Anne Persin, who says, "we're traveling in the desert and we stopped at this oasis for some charoset!")

I put out bowls of chopped nuts, chopped apples, chopped pears, mandarin oranges, toasted coconut, and raisins. I pre-soaked the apples and pears in wine, and I left a little extra wine on the table for those who like it extra-mushy. We also put out honey and cinnamon (not pictured). Even my kids who don't usually like charoset got into the fun, and adults did too. (Bananas came up as a suggestion, and I waited to cut them until the last minute and then I forgot. Oops.)

I think it might be fun to ask people to suggest their own ingredients, or to ask them to bring a bowl filled with a charoset ingredient and its significance toward the lessons of Passover. Either way, I think I've created a hit with this one! 

In case you're interested, we also watched some of our favorite Pesach videos and had a little discussion about freedom, slavery, and plagues. Yael said the four questions (even though she got both giggly and shy) and I quizzed all the kids about all that they knew about Passover. And of course, we ate a yummy meal! We celebrated with friends and family and I consider it to be a wonderful and fun success!

How were your Seder experiences? 
Did you try anything new? Please share....I'd love to learn from you!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Family Traits

There is something about the apple....falling...not far from the tree? You might say so.

The other day, I took this adorable picture of Yael and Solly:
After I took it, I thought to myself, "bummer, that there's that bag between them" (it was over her shoulder) but I made sure not to say a word. I didn't want to over-stage the picture, I didn't really mind. After all, look at how cute they are! So I was pretty content.

Then Yael comes over and says, "let me see the picture." I show her, saying how nice it was. She says, "too bad the bag is in the picture between us!"

Another day this week, I found myself saying the kind of words my parents used to say.
I had a flash of "oh-my-gosh-I'm-my-parents."

One generation leads to the next leads to the next....

I'm my parents.
And my daughter is me.

Let the circle continue...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

#BlogExodus - Chodesh Tov!

For this new moon of Nisan, a poem:

The time is upon us
for freedom...
for freeing
from the bondage
of slavery
of winter

spring comes
and we break free

Nisan comes and it's like the world opens up.

The waters part
the world renews.

The new moon of Nisan is only 15 days from the moment of the takes only a few moments for freedom to come, but a lifetime of lifetimes to truly believe in it.

 Originally posted here.

With the beginning of Nisan also begins #BlogExodus for the next 2 weeks. (More on that here.) All you have to do is use the hashtag and there are suggested prompts on the graphic (feel free to grab it). Maybe you just want to post on your Facebook or Twitter about these topics...or maybe you want to try #Exodusgram, a new idea to post photos related to these themes? Read more of my #BlogExodus posts over at my other blog,, my #Exodusgram pictures on my tumblr site,, and other miscellaneous Passover posts here at It's going to be a busy fortnight!

Monday, March 11, 2013

#BlogExodus #ExodusGram 5773

I love love love love Passover.
It's one of my favorite holidays.

I love the preparation that goes into this one special week of the year.
And I love the spiritual nature of completely changing the way that we eat for one week. I relish the way that it makes us so consciously aware of each morsel that we place in our mouths. I am inspired by the themes of the holiday that give us so much personal food for thought. (Yes, pun intended!)

Last year, I tried out a new way to interpret the preparation for Passover, with #BlogExodus and #Exodusgram.

I thought it was great, and I know that others did too.

So here is this year's #blogExodus and #Exodusgram theme list:

Feel free to grab this image and use it on your own blog to mark your posts.

So what is this really about? #BlogExodus is really what you want to make of it. I've provided topics for the first 14 days of the month of Nisan. What you do with it is up to you -- write a blog post, tweet, Facebook, tumblr, or something that I haven't even thought of yet! Use the hashtag to share your post (I put it into the title). It's a great way to kickstart a blog or rejuvenate your languishing blog or just get yourself ready for the holiday of Passover! I will, again, be posting my #blogExodus posts over at and I will tweet them out at @imabima. There aren't any rules, so maybe you don't like the order of the topics? Maybe you want to write on only a few of them? It doesn't matter. It is what you make of it.

#Exodusgram is a little more interpretive. While I love Instagram (I'm imabima, of course), I know some people don't. So maybe you want to share Exodus-themed photos via Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Pinterest or....whatever! My #Exodusgram posts will go up on Instagram and then be shared to my tumblr, Whatever you do, don't forget to tag with #Exodusgram so we can all share.

The themes are really up for your own interpretation. I was thinking broadly and openly about what makes Passover special and interesting to me. I hope it will translate into creative and inspirational posts from all of us!

Are you going to play along? Leave me a comment here or send me a tweet or along!
At some point in the middle, I will probably do a "roundup" post and I will retweet all the #BlogExodus and #Exodusgram posts through Twitter via @imabima. If I miss your posts, let me know so I can go back and be inspired by what YOU have to say!

*Yes, I know that I put the Shabbat dates there. I don't blog/tweet/Facebook on Shabbat but I will post on Fridays before Shabbat and on Saturdays after Shabbat is over. You can, of course, do it any way you like!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lost: One Hour

Today we changed our clocks. "Spring forward" is a nice motto, and it's a good memory trick.
The practice of changing the clocks dates back to the first World War, and was a way to maximize energy efficiency. Some people hate daylight savings time, and some people love it. No matter how you feel about it, though, if you forget to change your clocks....well, you spend a lot of time confused.

Everyone always talks about how we "lose" an hour when we set our clocks forward. It's such a sad idea, really, to think of just - poof - an hour gone.

It reminds me how precious time is.
It reminds me how much each minute, each second, each not-lost hour matters.

Time is such a funny idea, really. It's a construct, isn't it? The rabbis created their own setting for time --  basically, they divided each day from daybreak to sunset into 12 equal parts, each one considered a "rabbinic hour" -- these hours are used to determine when one should say each of the various daily prayer services. They're variable, of course, based on the seasons, which is why a person who observes these zmanim (times) needs a specialized listing (or app for their phone) to help keep track. It's also why it's tricky to observe "Jewish time" in a place like St. Petersburg, which is so close to the Arctic Circle. During the winter months, each "hour" is very short. The daylight hours in which to accomplish daytime prayers are minimal! And then in the summer -- the daylight hours never seem to end!

I've often joked at summer camp that we should just set all the clocks on camp to whatever time we want them to be set at. It's such an insulated experience; we could tell the kids they are sleeping until 9am "camp time" and it might only be 8am in the "real world."

When we have control over the time -- why not buy a little extra sleep?
Or at least make it feel as though we're getting more!

We acknowledge the passing of time and in doing so, we sanctify it...we make it holy. We measure birthdays and anniversaries, we pay careful attention to the changing of the year and setting forth the holidays. We celebrate moments, large and small, in order to make something so ephemeral as time a living and sacred part of our lives. Time might fly when you're having fun. But time can be snatched away if we fail to pause and sanctify it.

Yes, we lost an hour this weekend.
And it helped me to remember that time is precious.
It is a is a blessing.

Your wisdom sets the way on which time and season glide;
Your breath guides the sail of the stars.
Creator of the tide of time and light,
You guide the current of day into night.
As heaven spans to infinity,
You set its course for eternity.
(Rabbi Elyse Frishman, in Mishkan Tefillah)

Lost: One Hour -- Arrrrrghhhhhh!!!!!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

No Worries Here

Cross-posted to Superman Sam's blog...

Tuesday, 2:23pm: Snow is falling thickly outside. Afterschool activities have already been cancelled. I'm in my comfy clothes, working on the computer while Solly naps. When the phone rings, and I see that it's the school, I assume it has to do with the snow.

School nurse: Hi, I have Sam here and he says his knee hurts. And he is worried because it's just like before.

If I tell you that I nearly dropped the phone...if I tell you that I burst into tears...if I tell you those things, I know you would forgive me for losing my cool.

I asked to talk to Sam. In a very calm, small, quiet voice, he said, "Mom, it feels just like when I was first diagnosed."

I swallowed hard.
My seven-year-old knows the word "diagnosed" and uses it properly in a sentence.
We discussed whether he should stay at school or not. With the snowstorm, and only about 45 minutes left in school, he decided to miss gym but rejoin his class for music.

And I called the clinic.
In tears.

They were, as usual, amazing.
As a fellow pediatric-illness-parent-friend said to me, they know every nook and cranny of the cliffs that we are ready to jump off. This one was a pick-up-my-kid-in-a-near-blizzard-and-drive-all-the-way-to-Milwaukee-for-an-MRI kind of cliff.

But they talked me down. He had gymnastics on Monday. Maybe he wrenched it? His joints and bones could be affected by the chemo and this could just be residual effects. It could just be normal-kid-aches-and-pains.

Sam had a clinic appointment scheduled for today, Friday. A regular check-up. The ones that I'm not supposed to worry about. The ones that they told me were just for routine.
That we would notice symptoms if anything was happening.

Tuesday night, he limped around. He took a bath. He snuggled while we read Ramona Forever.
As he went to bed...he said, "I hope it's not leukemia."

I said, "me too."

By Thursday, he was fine. No pain. Except the one inside my stomach, waiting to have a medical professional PROVE to me that he was fine.

I was up all night last night waiting for today's drive to Milwaukee. What would the results say?

It's all fine. He's fine.
Numbers normal.
No worries.

Well, not at least until next time there's a false alarm, right?
Chocolate pudding & a movie at 10am? You know we're in Cancerland for the day.