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Sep 19 2014

The Challah Recipe That Changed My Life

By at 9:38 am

Challah-post

It was a no-brainer for me to send my daughters to a Jewish preschool. I loved the program, the teachers, and the sense of Jewish community. The school didn’t celebrate Halloween or Christmas and the students dipped apples in honey for Rosh Hashanah and made latkes (OK, they were frozen from a bag) for Chanukah. They ate lunch in a pre-fab sukkah once or twice every fall and sang Jewish songs and read Jewish-themed books. I knew my kids would go to public school starting in kindergarten, but at least they would go to Jewish preschool.

The school sent home lots of things about being Jewish–Jewish parenting articles and Jewish activities we could do at home. And then one day, when my older daughter was 3, they sent home a challah recipe.

My daughter and I had enjoyed some simple baking projects before, and I wondered what baking a challah would be like. Of course, baking a challah is more complex than, say, chocolate chip cookies, but I was willing to try it. So that Friday, I set about making my first-ever challah. I didn’t own a Kitchen Aid mixer at the time, so I mixed and kneaded the entire thing by hand. With risings, it took about four hours from start to finish. I made a roast chicken, carrots, and potatoes to go along with it. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 11 2014

The Surprising Way I Found Comfort in My Daughter’s Hospital Room

By at 3:01 pm

baby-in-hospital

On Friday afternoon, while I was alone with my infant daughter for a moment, there was a knock at the door of our hospital room. A short, pudgy woman–who just begged to be called Bubbe–pushed her reading glasses up on her nose and looked down at her clipboard, “Are you the Rosen-Prinz family?”

“Yes,” I replied quietly as the baby lay asleep in my arms. I had become accustomed to the constant daily interruptions after many days in the pediatric intensive care unit where doctors worked tirelessly to diagnose my baby with what we would come to learn is a very rare illness.

“Would you like a Shabbat kit?” she offered. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 2 2014

A Glamorous Asian-Inspired Shabbat

By at 10:08 am

asian-inspired-shabbat-dinner-1

I don’t know about you, but my kids are out of school and things around my household are a bit crazy. I call it summer madness. With everything so hectic, I find that I really look forward to Shabbat.

For this month’s Glamorous Shabbat meal, I decided to go Asian style. I found a wonderful recipe online for a chicken cooked in coconut milk (pictured above). I know it sounds crazy, but I assure you the results are heavenly. And the best part is, all you have to do is throw the chicken in a pot with the aforementioned coconut milk and a few fragrant herbs, and let it cook.

With such a succulent treat like the chicken, all you need are a few simple side dishes to round out the meal. I thought coconut rice would be the perfect accompaniment, because it is plain enough to balance the chicken, but elevated through the use of the coconut milk. Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2014

Blessing My Daughter on Friday Night

By at 9:55 am

shabbat-candles

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Naso. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

I can still remember the tingly feeling of holiness that went through me when the rabbi blessed me at my bat mitzvah as a pipe organ played minor chords, and a choir in robes sang solemnly. (In retrospect, I wonder if all huge Reform congregations in 1990 borrowed a lot from Christian worship. I’m pretty sure mine did.)

The pipe organ was a new twist, but the blessing was ancient. Rabbis all over the world have been blessing their communities with three simple lines from this week’s Torah portion, Naso, for thousands of years. That suburban Reform rabbi was continuing the tradition of the priests of Biblical Israel, reciting the words God gave for blessing the people of Israel:

May God bless you and keep you.
May God shine God’s face on you and give you grace.
May God give favor to you and grant you peace. Read the rest of this entry →

May 2 2014

The Special Tradition My Poppa Started That I Continue With My Own Grandchildren

By at 10:30 am

brass-candlesticks

One recent erev Shabbos (the night before Shabbat, Friday night) was special. My oldest granddaughter turned 3 and we had the opportunity to continue a family tradition through another generation.

On my own third birthday, my handsome, fun Poppa, who lived around the corner and whose delight in me I still remember and hold dear, brought me brass candlesticks so I could light Shabbos candles with my mother. I am the eldest grandchild, and he gave the same gift to each subsequent granddaughter at the same age. Although he often took us to Heshy’s Toy Store on the Lower East Side (which was to me the 1950s and 60s equivalent of Toys”R”Us), and insisted that we could buy “WHATEVER WE WANTED!” somehow, that gift of candlesticks was very special. I was a big girl, I learned the bracha (blessing) for the candles, and from then on, stood beside my mom each week, bringing Shabbos into our home.

When my own daughter, his first great-grandchild, turned 3, Poppa again appeared with his special gift. He did the same for my younger daughter. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 25 2014

The Glamorous Housewife’s Guide to Shabbat: Sweet Tea Chicken

By at 4:25 pm
sweet-tea-chicken-4.2

Sweet tea chicken

 

For this edition of The Glamorous Housewive’s Guide To Hosting Shabbat (you can see January’s menu here and February’s menu here), I am thrilled to introduce my new favorite chicken. The “secret” ingredient is a southern staple–sweet tea! At first I was wary of how chicken would taste when marinated overnight in sweet tea, but after taking my first bite I was hooked! The sweetness of the tea combines perfectly with the tang of the lemon and the piney scent of the fresh rosemary. The side dishes are easy to prepare, delightfully flavorful, and most can be made ahead of time.

Menu

Sweet tea chicken

Israeli couscous with caramelized onions and cranberries

Broccoli salad with a twist

Strawberry spinach salad with a raspberry vinaigrette (omit the feta if you are kosher)

Salted caramel apple cupcakes (you can substitute margarine and soy cream cheese if you are kosher) Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 27 2014

The Glamorous Housewife’s Guide to Shabbat: Cold Weather Comfort Food

By at 10:56 am

mom

Ever tried hosting your own Shabbat dinner and felt a touch… overwhelmed? Bethany from The Glamorous Housewife is here to help with her monthly how-to series on Kveller. Read last month’s Shabbat Dinner Guide here.

We are deep into winter and although many of us long for spring, the weather is still cold and comfort food is often what we all crave. Therefore I thought a traditional brisket would be a perfect main dish for this month’s meal. The recipe I use the most is via The Barefoot Contessa because I think it is quite easy and totally foolproof. My favorite part about this dish is it can be made the day ahead and then reheated in the sauce. My only tip is to not use brisket but to substitute with chuck roast. Chuck often has more fat than brisket and fat equals flavor and tenderness, so when you cut into it there should be no resistance and the meat will melt like butter! Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 21 2014

Since Becoming Pregnant, I’ve Given Myself Permission to Recline

By at 12:44 pm

permission-to-relax

The surprising thing about living on an island is just how much there is to do. Once my husband and I bought a house and made a long-term commitment to life on North Haven, we became a hot commodity. In addition to our jobs (teaching for me, plumbing and now programming at our community center for my husband), we serve in town government, volunteer with the ambulance crew, teach music lessons, and attempt to maintain a social life. I direct three or four plays each year, for which my husband either acts or does the sound design or both. I teach Pilates at the Y, and in the summer, ostensibly my time off, I open a small bakery and breakfast café.

That’s the way we like it. Neither of us is at our best with a lot of leisure time, and it’s not like there are a lot of places to go here to have a meal out or see a show. Typically if we have downtime at the same time we’ll go for a long walk, snowshoe, or kayak. Maybe we’ll learn a new piece of music or write and record a song. My workday ends at noon on Friday, and when I don’t have to get on the ferry for a prenatal checkup, I make a point of cleaning the bathrooms. Since sitting gets such a bad rap these days, with articles popping up all over the Internet claiming it’s as bad for you as smoking, being busy seems to make a lot of sense. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 14 2014

Turns Out Shabbat and Valentine’s Day Have a Lot in Common

By at 11:43 am

shabbat

Tonight I’m planning dinner by candlelight. It will engage all five senses, with attention lavished on the tiniest details, including our wedding china instead of Corelle, and soup that requires a trip to the butcher instead of just a can opener. They say oysters are an aphrodisiac, but I’m banking on the kneidelach my husband likes: the firmer, the better. Ah, February 14th.

Isn’t this how Shabbat should always go?

My kids’ preschool director sent an email out reminding parents that “we celebrate love and caring all year long, but we do not celebrate Valentine’s Day at school.” Last V-Day, when my son found a cupcake in his cubby with the Post-It note reading “Baked with love in our kosher home,” he thought it was a happy coincidence.

No valentines, no candy hearts–would Friday be any fun? Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 7 2014

Can I Ask My Non-Jewish Babysitter to Do Shabbat?

By at 1:00 pm

Can I ask my non-Jewish babysitter to do Shabbat?

Love our children though we may, inevitably my husband and I will eventually have commitments on Friday night. Luckily, we have the world’s most fantastic babysitter. Our children run to her when she comes through the door. Last time she left, our toddler clung to her leg and blurted out, “Miss Megan, I ruv you.” Like any good parent, I’ve instructed her to start failing her college courses so that she won’t graduate quite so fast and leave us, tearful, in her successful dust.

She’s not Jewish, and like most of our community, matters of faith don’t tend to come up regularly. However, now that Shabbat on Fridays is part of our family rhythm, I’m not sure how to approach her about it.

Don’t let me fool you. Our Shabbat practice is not picturesque nor extensive. It is a barefoot, pants-less, baby-on-the-countertop kind of thing. As we discover what traditions work for us, more often than not the mood absorbs the anxiety that comes with “don’t let the toddler grab the lighter!” than any sort of Shabbat peace. Read the rest of this entry →

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