The Kosher Home

 

Getting Kids to Eat Fruits and Veggies

 

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Do your children push away spinach or refuse to eat broccoli? Do they shun the fresh fruit you offer them for snacks and dessert? If you want to inspire your kids to eat healthier, it helps to make their meals and snacks as appealing as possible. All healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, can be just as tempting as junk food (and ideally more so).

Start by asking your children for a list of their favorite foods (cookies and cake don’t count). Then make an effort to incorporate some of their picks into the daily meals that you prepare. You will be surprised at their responses! They might really enjoy a particular fruit or vegetable they have eaten at a friend’s home or at school. They just were never offered it at your home. Do your children have a soft spot for mashed potatoes? Introduce them to the recipe which uses cauliflower, like Creamy Mashed Cauliflower. They’ll be surprised how good it is!


 

Passover Prep – The Seder Plate

 

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The highlight of the Passover holiday is the Seder. The Seder is a ritual meal at which we read the Haggadah – a book that sets out the order for this Passover meal. (Seder means order).

The Seder plate traditionally has small bowls / plates of the food items used and referenced to in the reading of the Haggadah. These are the items on it:


 

Passover Prep – Start Cooking!

 

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We made it! Now all that’s left to do is cook. I like to put up my soups and mains way ahead of time, so that I can spend the day before Passover working on my side dishes and desserts as they tend to take more time. At least if I know that the mains and soups are taken care of, I can cook the rest with a happy unstressed frame of mind.

Before I start with the individual dishes I chop onions and peel garlic enough for all my recipes. I separate the onions into ziploc baggies that hold a half cup of chopped onions. The snack size baggies are perfect for this. I chop all the veggies and bag them up. It just makes it easier to get all the cooking done. Prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking to ensure you have everything you need. This cuts down on last minute store runs.


 

Passover Prep – Turn Over The Kitchen

 

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OK. Take a deep breath. You have come this far. Your house is clean. Your shopping has been done. Errands have been taken care of. Give your kitchen a final clean. The steps you followed in Passover Prep – Clean Your Kitchen have paved the way for the final clean. Go over these steps again, paying even more attention to detail, and putting away all your chametz items that don’t need to remain on the counters. We close up our pantry for Passover, selling the contents within, and we put the toaster and the cookie jar and all those items that are out on the counter during the year are stored inside during Passover. Tape up the cabinets that will not be used over Passover.

Once everything is put away you can get to work on the counters and the sinks. I would advise you at this point to consult with your local Rabbi about the correct method of kashering your counters for the holiday. Some people steam their counters, some pour boiling water, some do both AND cover them as well.


 

Passover Prep – Time to Shop!

 

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It’s overwhelming – the amount of Passover goods that are available these days. If you are not careful you can end up spending more than you have budgeted for the holiday. I use a master list every year – and I have found that it really helps me keep my spending to a minimum.

Print it out, take it with you.


 

Passover Prep – Weekend Catch-Up

 

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It’s been a busy week and I have news for you, it’s only going to get busier next week as Passover approaches. One week left. But we are almost there. Catch up on any steps you missed this past week and it will be put you in good shape for the busiest week of the Jewish year!


 

Passover Prep – Kids’ Toys

 

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My children are bigger now, but when they were small and we would be sorting through the toys I would find chametz everywhere. Cheerios and crushed up crackers all mixed in with the lego blocks. I felt it wasn’t enough to just sort through their toys, I wanted to make sure the chametz was totally gone.

Put away many of the toys for Pesach – sell them with the rest of the chametz – but keep out some of the favorites. Fill up the bathtub with lukewarm water and Johnson’s baby shampoo. Let the kids help you with soaking all the washable toys in the tub. Give them each a washcloth and have them scrub each toy. If you have a toy chest, take advantage of its current emptiness to clean it inside and out. Lay the toys on bath towels to dry, or have the kids dry them individually.


 

Passover Prep – Set Up a Mini Kitchen

 

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Most of us are not fortunate enough to have a Passover kitchen. I dream of having one some day, but until then I have two choices. I can turn my kitchen over for Pesach five days before and start cooking like a madwoman OR I can prepare an area away from the chametz where I can slowly get certain foods done before the sprint to the finish line.

Run out to the grocery store and just buy a few basics so that you can get your cooking started. Some chicken and some vegetables, some frozen rolls of gefilte fish.


 

Passover Prep – Tackle the Breakfront

 

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It’s time to roll up the sleeves and get working on the chametz removal. We are not in the kitchen yet – we gave it a once over last week, remember? Next week we will give it the final clean. I am talking about that breakfront that houses your fancy dishes and silver items. Those drawers in your buffet that cradle your fancy cutlery.

Cover your dining room table with a cloth or newspaper. Collect up your rags and your silver polish. Empty out the breakfront, the buffet and the drawers therein. Nothing goes back in unless it’s been polished to a shine. This is a great thing for the kids to help with if they are around. Give them a bunch of old socks to get to work with.


 

Passover Prep – Errands

 

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Today we talk about getting the small things done and out of the way and off your list, so you can concentrate soon enough on getting the big things done – like shopping / cooking / cleaning and making Pesach.

  1. Shoes need to be resoled? Take them to the shoemaker.
  2. Shirts and clothes in the dry cleaning pile? Drop them off to the dry cleaner’s on the way to work. No one will be scrambling for a clean suit / dress / shirt 5 minutes before Yomtov.
  3. Get the carpet cleaner booked for next week.
  4. See if you can get a dentist appointment to sort out that bothersome tooth – deal with it before it bothers you to eat all that crunchy matza over Passover.
  5. Any minor medical issues – make an appointment with the doctor for this week.
  6. Schedule yourself a massage / hair cut / manicure for next week – all this preparation that you are doing, you must take time for yourself.
  7. Going out for the seder or a yomtov meal? Pick up gifts this week, wrap them and include a card, so that they are ready to be dropped off just before the holiday.

ACTION: Make a list of everything that needs to be done between now and Passover, and then prioritize. Farm out some tasks to the spouse / older children if possible.


 

Passover Prep – Weekend Tasks

 

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Ok, So you planned to get stuff done for Passover this week, it was on your calendar and everything, but that late night at the office on Monday just ruined your week. Do not fear – You have a whole Sunday to get plenty stuff accomplished.

Four easy things to take care of, and dinner will be ready when you are done.


 

Passover Prep – Restocking Passover Kitchen

 

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Every year, when I am unpacking the Pesach dishes after my husband and boys have shlepped all seventeen boxes down from the attic, I have a moment when I realize that I kept *something* out to use for around the year, and need to replace it for Passover. Exactly what item that is, well, that would be anyone’s guess. One year it was the immersion blender, one year it was the potato peeler.

I have learned to combat these moments. Used to be that in the box marked Pesach #1 (which is the first box that gets opened) I had a paper on the top – on which I listed all kitchen utensils that I had kept out for regular use throughout the year, or broken over the last Pesach and need to be replaced. Ideally, if you did what I recommended yesterday, you have this document filed on your computer so that you don’t need to wait till you are unpacking the dishes to discover this list. This list should also have a list of *wants* that you had last year, but were not able to find / purchase.


 

DIY – Coconut Milk with Step by Step Photos

 

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I don’t believe there is any kosher for passover coconut milk on the market yet, at least I haven’t found it.  I remember last year there was a big deal over Almond milk that was certified.  It is so nice to be able to make non dairy desserts without using chemical filled artificial creamers.  Almond milk is a great option, but it can get pricey and sometimes the flavor is not ideal or you might need something with a little more fat.  That is when I turn to coconut milk.   On passover coconut is a big part of many desserts, think macaroons, how could there not be kosher for passover coconut milk.

Then I happen to be talking to a woman from Ghiana who told me she always makes her own coconut milk and it is not a big deal.  Especially if you start with already grated, which of course she doesn’t.  Then I remembered that our food blogger friend, Shoshana gave us a recipe last year for Passover pudding where she tells us how it is done.  Shoshana says to pour boiling water over the coconut and then puree in a blender and strain it in cheesecloth.  However, many recipes on line suggest soaking it in warm water and then straining it and that you can even go through the process twice with the second batch being thinner.  I thought that would be even easier, not to have to puree it, but I was not happy with the results. I think if you can get fresh coconut and grate it yourself you would not have to puree it.  But if you want to go the easy way we will still with Shoshana and here is how it is done.


 

Do It Yourself Crafts for Your Seder

 

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For every Jewish holiday there are loads of crafts we can make with our kids or even on our own as adults.  It is fun to have our personalized items to use and our friend, Sarah Dahan, from CreativeJewishMom.com always has a amazing ideas.  Look through your collection and see what might be missing or which item has seen a better year.  You will find links to all of these crafts at the bottom of this page.  And don’t miss our Makot Matching Game.

Maybe it is time to make a gorgeous Bejeweled Wine Glass for Eilayu you can even dress up your regular wine glasses this way.


 

Passover Prep – Start Your Grocery Shopping

 

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By now you should have a room that is totally chametz-free where you can start to store your Passover groceries as you buy them. Matzah is something that needs to be bought as far in advance as possible, especially if you have a particular brand that you are partial to.  The later you leave it the more of chance there will be that the store will be sold out.

When I shop for Passover, I try to get all the goods that I will need for the whole 8 days. I would rather not have to go back to the store to buy anything else if I don’t have to. (One year I thought 144 eggs would be enough, and I ran out half way through the holiday, but that’s a story for a different time).