Holidays

 

Holiday Prep Tip #2 – Consider Encore...

 

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When planning your menu, consider your company and time between each holiday meal and don’t shy away from serving the same thing more than once over the course of the month.  Serve the same soup the first night of RH and the first night of Sukkot or the same brisket Shabbos of the 3-day Rosh Hashanah Yom Tov and Shabbos Chol Hamoed (Sukkos).  Point is, don’t make 3 soups, 5 briskets, or even 8 desserts.  Cook in bulk by doubling/tripling/quadrupling recipes that freeze well.

Freeze in portions the size of your crowd and pull from the freezer in advance of the meal.  This way you are not starting from scratch before each holiday.  Alternate your menu based on company (so you don’t repeat food with repeat guests – although that wouldn’t be the worst thing) and proximity of meals.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #1 – Plan Your Menus Now

 

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By now, I mean right now.  Tomorrow is ok (now is better!) but just don’t let it wait a week.  Plan your menu for the entire holiday season at once, the earlier the better, from the first Rosh Hashanah meal to the last Simchat Torah seudah.  Crazy Fact: There are at least 16 meals if you live in Israel and 20 meals if you live outside of Israel.


 

DIY Rosh Hashanah Hostess Gift *Giveaway*

 

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Make your own hostess gift or centerpiece. Filled with candy this vase doubles as a gorgeous table decoration and a candy dish filled with edible goodies for the kids.

This year the first night of Rosh Hashanah falls on the night of September 24th, 2014.  A big relief after last year’s early holidays, we have time to plan and prepare.  Still, hopefully we will all get a little break and be invited out for at least one of the meals and that is when this amazing do it yourself hostess gift will come in handy.


 

Why You Should Add Leeks To Your Rosh Hashanah...

 

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Everyone knows that Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey time. But there’s a growing tradition to include other symbolic foods on the menu during the High Holiday season — foods that evoke our wishes for G-d to bless and protect us in the year ahead.

Leeks for instance.


 

15 Simanim Inspired Sides and Mains

 

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When I sat down to write this post I had to take a few minutes to research the many simanim we eat by Rosh Hashanah.  I ended up spending quite a bit of time reading up about the reasons we eat these foods, they are foods we eat all year round but yet their incredible significance is truly seen around Rosh Hashanah.  Foods such as dates and leeks are connected to the destruction of our enemies, pomegranates for increasing our spiritual merit, and carrots for abundance, just to name a few.  Below are 15 sides and mains that prominently featured some of the most well known of the simanim– don’t worry, you won’t find any recipes for fish head or ram’s head below!

 


 

Rosh Hashanah Gift Ideas Everyone Can Enjoy

 

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It’s always nice to bring a gift when someone invites you to a meal, but the typical red or white bottle of wine can get a little boring and cute little tchoktes take up space and are not appreciated by everyone.  I mean how many honey pots can a person break–er–I mean get as a gift.  Fine, if you are like me maybe you appreciate a new honey pot every year, and last year I shared some lovely new honey related gift ideas that go beyond the pot.  Those gifts inspired me to find more Rosh Hashanah gifts, but this time they are all edible.

My feeling is no one can have too much actual honey, did you know it doesn’t go bad?  And no one can have too much chocolate, olive oil, flavored liquors, teas etc.  The trick is choosing the right ones, the best ones, the food products that look like a gift.  Here are my suggestions.


 

Free High Holiday #FreshNewYear ebook

 

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A Healthy Rosh Hashanah Menu *Giveaway*

 

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This year get all your kosher shopping done in one place. Winn-Dixie is committed to providing kosher foods and works to add more products every day.


 

Buckwheat Honey Time

 

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A few months ago I was invited by the National Honey Board to a honey tasting.  Do I have a sweet job or what?  I learned everything I ever wanted to know about honey and discovered my new found love for buckwheat honey.

Buckwheat honey was the last variety we tried.  It is a dark honey with a very intense, malty flavor. It is amazing how the source of the pollination, in this case, buckwheat, can impart such a difference in taste and texture.  After licking my spoon dry, I noticed that about half the other people didn’t finish their sample.  The person leading the demonstration said, “you either love it or hate it.”  (Clearly I was in the love side of the spectrum)


 

8 New Fruits For The New Year

 

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On Rosh Hashanah we have a custom to eat a new fruit on the second night of the holiday, the only holiday that is celebrated for two days even in Israel.   Some opinions are that the two days are really one long holiday.  Yet, because there are mixed opinions we still say the “shechiyanu” blessing on the second night, even though that blessing is only used when we are doing something new for the year.  Since there is doubt on whether this blessing should be said, we keep a new fruit on the table so that we cover our bases.

When I was growing up it was always a pomegranate.  A symbol of Israel and the holiday.  Nowadays, pomegranates are readily available all year long, so we have had to get more adventurous, which I love.  I love searching out the most outrageous fruits to introduce people to and this year I have passed that passion on to the next generation.  My son, Aryeh, has put together this list for you of new fruits.  He hasn’t tried all of them, but he hopes to and he has shared a bit about each one from his research online (I only edited a little – I was super impressed).  Some are easier to find than others based on where you live.  My recommendation is to search out your local asian market for the best selection of exotic fruits.


 

Healthy Recipes for the High Holidays *Giveaway*

 

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Summer is almost over, school is about to begin and the High Holidays are approaching.  I look forward to all our Jewish holidays, even the “dreaded” three-day Yom Tov.  It helps that I work for a Jewish company so I am not missing any work, but I especially appreciate the family time without work or digital distractions. Connecting to a day of rest is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies, but because we like to eat (a lot) on the Jewish holidays, we have to plan properly to stay healthy.

My goal at all Shabbat and holiday meals is to feature vegetables for two thirds of the menu (and my plate). Luckily, most of the simanim (symbolic foods) can help us out.  With carrots, leeks, cabbage, beets, and pumpkin among the foods that promise a year of health and wealth, there are some great choices at your local market.


 

5 Healthy High Holiday Main Courses

 

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I refuse to admit that the summer is quickly coming to a close, but instead I’m focusing on the upcoming simcha of the month of Tishrei to distract me from my end of summer blues.  While in Israel my waistline benefitted from the hills of Tzfat and the generally low-cal mediterranean diet.  I hope to continue this healthy trend back here in the states, and I have a strong feeling I’m not the only one looking for healthy, satisfying and holiday-worthy main courses.  See just five of our many holiday recipes below, and check out more ideas here and here.

 


 

Tuna, Trendy and Gluten Free

 

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Believe it or not, growing up I used to look forward to the 9 days. Not that I enjoyed the fact that we were in mourning and that we couldn’t go swimming and that Tisha Ba’av was the longest fast of the year, but I did look forward to a week without Shabbat leftovers. The 9 days and their prohibition against eating meat meant no Shabbat leftovers on Sunday, and no leftovers on Monday and no leftovers on Tuesday, not to mention the occasional spill over to Wednesday and even Thursday.

Leftovers were not how my early childhood started. Our dinner menus changed when my youngest brother was born. 16 years my junior, with no one in-between, my brother and his dairy and soy allergies revolutionized dinnertime. My brother was so allergic to dairy and the proteins in dairy that you could not even touch him if you were eating dairy or washing dairy dishes. So my mom would make enough chicken and meat on Shabbat to last the whole week! No joke! Dairy took a back seat in our home. Because of my brother’s allergies, our dinners became more routine – chicken – Sunday night, Monday night, Tuesday night, and if my memory serves me correctly probably Wednesday and Thursday night as well. Gone were the pizza and the lasagna, the eggplant Parmesan and my personal favorite — tuna casserole. Yet, once a year, in the heat of the summer, we stocked up on milk and cheese and feasted on my old dairy favorites. It was a dairy lover’s paradise for the whole family except my younger brother who still ate his chicken night after night.


 

A Gourmet Break Fast Worth Starving For

 

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Summer is a great time to lighten up your food and to take advantage of gorgeous produce. Take pleasure and savor summer. Cooking meals during the 9 days or at any point in the summer should be a reflection of what is going on outdoors.

Summer dishes should taste like sunshine and a meadow. I want my family to fresh flavors and to enjoy them slowly and fully.


 

The Day Before a Fast

 

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The day before a fast it is important to keep your body hydrated, well nourished and away from caffeine and alcohol.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but it is just that important to get lots of water the entire day before the fast, not just the last hour.  You should also eat throughout the day well balanced meals and snacks.  I suggest starting with 1-2 eggs, a slice of whole grain toast and a banana.  Then try a small yogurt with a few nuts or granola for a mid morning snack.  For lunch have a vegetable and pasta salad with a scoop of tuna or cottage cheese.  Throw in a fruit and some nuts or hummus if you like before getting ready for the main pre fast meal.