An acquaintance recently asked me if I’m still blogging. I responded with, “yes? kind of?” because while I have been writing, sure, thankfully, wonderfully, I have completely neglected my little beloved blog here. I had a post up on Kveller last month (did I ever link to it? I don’t know. Here it is. It’s about Jewish Baby Names!). And today I have a piece up on Hevria.
Thank G-d, my life is beyond hectic and so full and I love it and I wouldn’t change a thing. Except for the things I would change, obviously.
That said, I do miss the days when I was a little less busy and I could spend a whole day on a blog post, finding the right words, the right pictures, the humor and the ridiculousness. Here are some of my favorite posts from that era of when I was more devoted:
In the spirit of getting back to actual blogging, I am including (by request – thanks guys! it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when you do that!), my Rosh Hashanah (and erev Yom Kippur and Sukkos) menu plan!!
I’ve been doing this menu planning thing off and on for years (see here, here, and here), and at this point, my process looks like this: I bring all my books to the table (apologies to all my food-blogging friends, I just like flipping through the books! It’s a tactile experience!), plus my planner, and it takes me about an hour or two depending on how distracted I am by social media, ahem.
I make a list of all the days I need to cook for, and then under the days I list the food I’m going to cook, including the cookbook and page number, and whether or not I’m going to make it ahead and freeze it, or if I am going to make it fresh. I also make my shopping list at the same time. Actually, I make two. One for the things I’m going to buy now and one for the things I’m going to buy closer to the holidays. I list all the ingredients and then later I go over it and consolidate/organize it.
This is how my brain works because I am thoroughly type A and I find all this organization extremely satisfying. But you do you, whatever works for you is great. This is just my way.
And I would like to point out that I am only able to plan this year, to be so organized, because I am not currently pregnant, I do not have a newborn, my three older kids are in school until 3:30, my toddler is in a playgroup from 9-12 and then naps almost immediately when he comes home. And, ultimately, because Hashem gives me the koach to do it. Every year is different, everyone’s situation is different, so do NOT beat yourself up. Please.
The only wild card in this plan is that I don’t know when we’re having guests yet, so if I see that I need to make more food, I can always make a quick chicken and kugel. If I already have a lot in my freezer, then it’s not too overwhelming to add some more food to it, especially since I chronically make more food than is necessary. Even as I was getting tired of making my menu I was thinking to myself “There’s not going to be enough food! We’re going to run out of food!!!!!” Even though that’s ludicrous. There’s so much food on this menu. So much. But I feel incapable of making less. Because people might get hungry.
All this cooking ahead is only helpful assuming, of course, that nothing catastrophic like losing power and having everything in my freezer spoil happens. NO AYIN HARAS OKAY? Thanks.
Sunday, October 2nd. Dinner.
- dips/salad: Israeli salad, my Mother-in-law’s marinated mushrooms, hummus (store-brought, you guys. Store bought).
- soup: Chicken Soup (Make ahead & freeze)
- main: Stuffed Veal Roast (Kosher by Design Short on Time) (Ma&f)
- side: Tzimmes – Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook)
- dessert: Baby Apple Tarts (KBDSOT) (Ma&f)
Monday, October 3rd. Lunch.
- dips/salad: Jalapeno dip (Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking), Tomato dip (same cookbook), some salad with Romaine lettuce
- main: Wine-braised Brisket with Tomatoes (KBDSOT)(Ma&f)
- side: Lokshen Kugel (Spice and Spirit) (Ma&f)
- dessert: Honey Cake (HJHC) (Ma&f)
Monday, October 3rd. Dinner.
- dips/salad: same dips and salads
- soup: same
- main: same
- side: Sweet Challah Kugel (S&S) (Ma&f)
- dessert: Pomegranate Cupcakes (Something Sweet) (Ma&f)
Tuesday, October 4th. Lunch
All the leftovers, plus I’m making the Sweet and Sour Chicken Fricassee from HJHC just in case there’s not meat left over, which there will be, BUT WHAT IF THERE’S NOT?
~Erev Yom Kippur~
So there’s a mitzvah to eat two meals on Yom Kippur, and there’s a thing to eat fish for lunch. My husband is not such a fan of fish, but he’s probably working anyways so oh well. I’m going to make fish for lunch.
- Green Salad
- Baked Salmon
- Roasted Potatoes
Dinner (i.e. the meal before we don’t eat for 25 hours so make it good but no pressure)
- Green Salad
- Chicken Soup with Kreplach (Ma&f)
- Grilled Chicken
- Near East Rice
Whatever I have leftover. I am not making anything special. Nope. Not doing it.
So many years I put all this energy into making my menu plans for Rosh Hashanah, and then eventually I remembered to include Yom Kippur and then there was always Sukkos coming up to surprise me with the FOUR DAYS of holidays that I needed to cook for. So this year, hopefully, me being proactive will take the edge off. We’ll see!
Sunday, October 16th. Dinner.
- salad: Roasted Garlic Asparagus (KBDSOT), some salad with Romaine lettuce
- soup: Mushroom Barley Soup (HJHC). What do you think, can I freeze this?
- main: Stuffed Peppers (HJHC)
- side: Challah Kugel (from freezer)
- dessert: Fruit-Filled Pastry Roses (SmSw) (Ma&f)
Monday, October 17th. Lunch.
- salad: Cucumber Dill Salad (KBDSOT), maybe egg salad
- main: Baked Chicken with Cider and Apples (HJHC) (Ma&f)
- side: Corn-Flake Topped Kugel (KBDSOT) (Ma&f x2)
- dessert: Braided Apple Pie (SmSw) (Ma&f)
Monday, October 17th. Dinner.
- salad: Apple-Walnut Salad with Creamy Cider Dressing (KDBSOT)
- soup: same
- main: Aunt Inna’s Delicious Meat (Ma&f?)
- side: Braised Potatoes & Shallots (KBDSOT)
- dessert: whatever we have
Tuesday, October 18th. Lunch.
All the Leftovers (notice the pattern here? If I end up inviting you for a last meal sometime this holiday, you know what you’re in for, hahaha)
~Chol HaMoed Sukkos~
I am planning NOTHING except finishing off the leftovers. If the kids want different food for dinner, they are getting cereal or noodles (that’s if I’m feeling generous). That’s the reality here. So much cooking already. And still more to come….
~Shemini Atzeres & Simchas Torah~
I was already getting really tired of planning by this point. Seriously. SO MANY MEALS.
Sunday, October 23rd. Dinner.
- salad: Stir-Fried Coleslaw (Kosher by Design Lightens Up)
- soup: Ukrainian Borscht (HJHC) (Ma&f)
- main: Balsamic-Glazed Chicken (KBDLU) (Ma&f)
- side: Corn-Flake Topped Carrot Kugel (from freezer)
- dessert: Ice Cream. We should still have some leftovers, I hope. I really hope.
Monday, October 24th. Lunch.
- salad: House Salad (KBDLU)
- main: Tomato Basil Chicken (KBDSOT) (Ma&f)
- side: Thai Quinoa (KBDLU)
- dessert: Black Cherry Crumble Bars (KBDSOT) (Ma&f)
Monday, October 24th. Dinner.
- salad: Israeli salad
- soup: same
- main: same as Sunday night
And then this happened.
Leftovers from here on out!!
And that is that! I’d like to give a special shout out to my friend Maya who helped nudge me into actually making this list. Without her, I would’ve put it off for longer and then it would’ve been more stress! If that’s even possible!
And, of course, I hope you are all seeing my Quick Thoughts for Elul videos that I’m posting daily on my blog’s Facebook page. It’s my third year (I think) doing them, and I really get so much out of them. It’s a good way to force myself to think about Elul because heaven knows with all this cooking I need to do, it’s easy to sidestep the spiritual work of the month!
Happy planning, cooking and introspecting, you all. May it be a productive, wonderful, fulfilling, healthy, happy and sweet year!