Tisha B'Av and the Nine Days

 

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.


 

A Light Pasta To Break A Fast

 

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People think of pasta as heavy – but it can be light. Ok so you probably already knew that but until recently I always preferred super heavy, creamy, cheesy, saucy, pasta dishes. So whenever I thought pasta I thought about an off-the-diet, carb and cream laden, comma-inducing feast. Always one to overdo things I would roll out of a pasta meal feeling like I never ever wanted to eat again.

Now that I am trying to take an overall healthier approach to food and not just completely cutting the carbs when I am being “good” and subsisting solely on carbs when I am being “bad” I have started to change the whole house over to whole grains and have begun to enjoy lighter, whole-wheat, summer pasta dishes.


 

6 Pre-fast Menus for Tisha B’Av

 

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Fasting is no easy task, even less so at the height of the summer. My physical preparations for the fast involve a 48-hour hydration binge in which my water bottle never leaves my side.  As for food, during those 48-hours I try to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in water. I save my fish, egg or dairy intake for erev Tisha B’Av, the day before the fast, in order to prevent bloating and increase my overall nutrient intake.  Below are three menus– dairy, fish, and vegan– to help you plan out your pre-fast meal.

 


 

Lunch and Dinner Recipes for the Nine Days

 

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The period known as the nine days, which lead up to Tisha B’Av, a day of fasting, are difficult for more reason than one.  The spiritual preparations leading up to one of the most tragic days on the Jewish Calendar is a hefty burden that includes the physical limitations including a ban on meat. In the hope of easing some of the difficulty of this time, below are nine days worth of meat-less lunch and dinner recipes.

 


 

Wishing An Easy Fast With Break Fast Ideas

 

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We’d like to wish everyone an easy and meaningful fast.I don’t want to take the focus of the day off what’s important and over emphasize the break fast in an inappropriate way.  So I will simply list some light easy to prep recipes below.  Additionally I would like to direct you to Rabbi Lawrence’s post explaining The Nine Days and Tisha B’Av so we all know what our focus should be on this sad day.  Also please see this post explaining What is the Seudah Hamafsekes including food customs.

 


 

Prefast Meal for Tisha B’av

 

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It is a very strong custom to refrain from eating meat and drinking alcohol during the 9 days leading up to Tisha B’av.  This year, Tisha B’av falls on July 16, 2013.  We have shared quite a few dairy menus and meal ideas for you over the past week and now I want to offer some tips for the fast including my menu suggestion.

To start with I always push hydration.  There is nothing as important during these hot days of Summer than staying hydrated.  During the three days leading up to the fast it is best to focus as much as possible on drinking more fluids, preferably water or herbal iced tea.


 

The Meal Before Tisha B’Av – Seudah...

 

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Tisha B’av (the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av) is the national day of mourning for the Jewish people.

The final meal before Tisha B’Av (“Seudah Mafseket”) is eaten in a state of “mourning”, sitting on the floor, eating a piece of bread and a hard boiled egg with some ashes.


 

Spiced Up Meatless Recipes *Giveaway*

 

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This year Tisha B’av falls out on July 16th, 2013. During the 9 days leading up to the fast it is a custom to refrain from meat. A meatless menu for the 9 days can keep you busy with pizza (we have 100), pasta and potatoes.  And if that’s you’re thing and you’re OK with it then may I recommend my Peach and Arugula Pizza, My Light Fettuccine Alfredo, and my Colorful Mashed Potatoes featuring Gold’s Healthy Horseradish and Wasabi Sauce.  But if you’d like to try something different this year and spice up your meatless recipe repertoire then I have two new dishes just for you.

Peach and Arugula Pizza


 

A Week of Dairy Menus

 

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It’s that time of year again!!!  Nine days of dairy, well really, it doesn’t have to be dairy, it just shouldn’t be meat.  During the 9 days before Tisha B’ Av it is a very serious custom to refrain from eating meat and drinking wine.  For more on this custom click here.

To be honest I don’t eat meat much during the week and so I am here to help with a week of 5 weeknight menu ideas for the 9 days.


 

Pre and Post Fasting Tips

 

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This year Tisha B’Av actually falls on Shabbat and so the fast is postponed until Sunday.   Most of us typically have large heavy lunches on Saturday and then very small lighter dinners.  This week I would suggest changing that up a bit.  Stick with a nice hearty lunch, but hold back a little, be careful with the salt and leave enough space to eat a filling dinner.    Make sure to watch the wine and alcohol too, they are dehydrating and not the best idea before a fast.  And always drink lots of water, throughout the entire day.

For the pre fast meal I recommend a light fish that can be served at room temperature.


 

9 Meatless Dinners for the 9 Days *Giveaway*

 

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My first love – before I knew hubby and had my delicious kids, was dairy.  If it were up to me I would only use the meat side of my kitchen for Shabbos and short ribs and that’s about it.  But G-d forbid don’t let it be suggested that I am celebrating over dairy dinners on the 9 days.  These 9 days are an acute time of mourning for the Jewish people.  Read JoK Rabbi, Rabbi Lawrence’s clear and concise explanation of why we eat dairy leading up to Tisha B’av.

What I’ve done for you here is suggest a number of dinner ideas for this week that I am sure you will try, because you are forced to, but I am sure you will be pleased with and work into your year round repertoire.


 

Kosher Dairy Recipes for The 9 Days

 

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Find out why we eat dairy during the 9 Days leading up to Tisha B’av and recipes to inspire you.


 

Pre Yom Kippur Menu

 

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This week Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, so there is no need for a Shabbat menu, but I will supply you with a pre fast meal that will prepare you for this Day of Atonement.

If you missed it around Tisha B’av or need a reminder, take a look at my fasting tips.  At this meal we do want to eat well, but not overstuff ourselves and of course go light on the salt.


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