The Jewish Woman’s Guide to Maintaining Sanity on Passover

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The Jewish Woman’s Guide to Maintaining Sanity on Passover

No Comments 28 March 2011

 

 

 

Dear Hostesses,

Meet Alice Chera, a very talented and inspirational woman in our community. This post is perfect timing as the pressure mounts to the PASSOVER COUNTDOWN!

 Sit back, take a deep breath, and absorb Alice’s valuable advice to surviving a daunting holiday that looms ahead….. Marlene

P.S. Check out Alice’s website HERE

 The Jewish Woman’s Guide to Maintaining Sanity On Passover

by: Alice Chera, CPCC, ACC

It was the battle cry of a weary Moses: “Let my people go!” It is the essence of Passover- freedom from oppression. So how is it, I wonder, as I stand in my kitchen sweating profusely over a frying pan in a cloud of Matzo meal after weeks of scrubbing my home from top to bottom, that the miracle of the Jews’ escape from Egypt thousands of years ago has turned into my very own 21rst century tale of bondage? What is it about the preparations for Passover that has me plotting year after year, my own escape to a desert like clime?

Now don’t get me wrong; Passover is a great holiday, as a child it was my favorite. But that was way before all the koshering, cooking, cleaning, checking, frying, baking, boiling, dipping and shopping was my responsibility. Back in those days, even my mother (an accomplished cook in her own right) didn’t host a Seder. Passover was a holiday so epic in scale that it was entrusted only to my grandmother, the silent and sturdy matriarch of our family. Peering into the kitchen to give her a kiss, there us kids would find her, clad in her housecoat, standing valiantly at the helm of the kitchen commandeering the stovetop and ovens with nary a complaint.

That said, it is no wonder the mere thought of Passover can strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned cook and homemaker. Passover is the biggie. The Grand Poobah of all the holidays. For those of us who stay home for holidays, Passover can be a month-long brew of cooking and cleaning that requires efficiency, stamina and most of all, a good attitude.

So here are some tips to maintain your sanity and create your own freedom as you prepare for Passover this year:

  1. Start Early/ Pace Yourself:

Start early and start small, but the main thing is to just start. As the Nike slogan goes “Just Do It.” Procrastination leads to paralysis. If you give yourself enough time you can tackle the Passover prep with little or no stress. Organize one shelf of a closet or start with just one room each week and little by little things will get done

2. Get Clear/ Avoid Vagueness:

Sure the thought of preparing for Passover can be daunting but our fears loom larger when they are trapped inside our heads. Begin by making a list of all the things you need to do for the holiday. That means- make your menus and shopping lists and create an outline for cleaning so that your tasks are clearly laid out before you. Vagueness only breeds anxiety. Seeing your list on paper makes things more manageable. It shows you that there is a beginning and an end to what needs to be done. And as you begin to cross things off the list, it generates the momentum you need to keep taking actions in preparation for the holiday.

3. Practice Self Care:

The overwhelming workload and heightened stress in anticipation of Passover can turn many of us from human beings into “human doings.” Watch for burnout. Make sure you take breaks and check in with yourself to see what you need at any given moment. Are you hungry? Do you need a nap? Rest is critical. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Delegating chores to your kids gives you a break and helps create for your children a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Remember, no one wants to find mom face down in her plate once the Seder has begun. Not a pretty picture.

4. Adopt a Positive Perspective/ Change Your Thinking:

Most of us tend to look at certain situations through only one lens. If you have always viewed preparing for Passover as difficult and challenging, then odds are Passover will always be a stress- related holiday for you. If you can shift your perspective from “This is so much work, how will I ever get done?” to “I am learning to approach Passover with balance and ease” you might find yourself lunching with friends or having more space in your day as the holiday approaches.

5. Have Fun:

Alright, there are probably those of you who want to strangle me for this one. But truly you can get quite creative with your time at home and in the kitchen before Passover arrives. Why not listen to some of your favorite music while you are cleaning out your closets or frying up 10 lbs of chicken cutlets? How about trying on a different persona as you get ready for the holiday? Approaching the Passover prep from the stance of Ninja mom or Warrior Goddess can be energizing, productive and fun.

6. Cultivate and Attitude of Gratitude:

Remember ladies- whatever we focus on grows. If we choose to look at our preparations for Passover as overwhelming and draining it will be that much worse. But if you look at all the positive aspects of this holiday and the ways that Passover fills you that will be what grows in your heart. Think about the abundance that is around you that we sometimes take for granted. The privilege of experiencing the holiday surrounded by your family, enjoying a variety of delicious food on the table, the connection to our history and the freedom we as Jews have today. If you practice an attitude of gratitude you can never fail! Freedom will always be yours for the taking.

Alice Chera is a Life Coach who works with women to help them enrich their lives and achieve their goals.

www.alicechera.com 

p.p.s. get all the newest table setting ideas and easy healthy recipes once a week to your inbox!  Just CLICK HERE!

 

 

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Roasted Portabello Mushroom and Bleu Cheese Salad

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Roasted Portabello Mushroom and Bleu Cheese Salad

3 Comments 28 March 2011

So, my husband’s away all week. This means that it takes a whole lot of willpower NOT to eat sandwiches, packaged meals and bowls of cereal each night for dinner. I need quite a bit of inspiration just to turn on the stove while he’s traveling. Luckily, that’s exactly what this blog is all about — inspiration.

This week, I decided to try a really simple, light salad (with VERY little oven-time required), courtesy of the doyenne of domesticity herself, Ms. Martha Stewart. The roasted portobello salad with blue cheese is from Martha’s Food Everyday “Fresh Flavor Fast” cookbook , which is a compilation of recipes from her magazine, Everyday Food . If you haven’t picked one up, you should. The magazine (and cookbook) are filled with awesome and easy weekday recipes. It’s a true favorite of mine.

This super simple dish will not disappoint. The portobello mushrooms are so meaty that they serve as a great, kosher replacement for steak. If you’re having trouble finding a kosher blue cheese, Kirkeby (Kirkeby-Cheese.dk) makes a Danablu that can found in many kosher supermarkets (I even found it in my neighborhood,in a non-Kosher market). You can also find many kosher cheeses HERE

The salad would make a great appetizer or a light meal. I had mine with a piece of French bread, which was perfect. I’m just sorry my husband missed it.

-Lucy Cohen Blatter

 

PHOTOS:

 

Make sure you dress both sides of the mushrooms with dressing and keep brushing them every five minutes as they cook.


Some people don’t care for blue cheese’s strong smell and flavor. Feel free to substitute your favorite kosher cheese to accompany these meaty portobellos and crunchy, slightly bitter endive.


The final product: A satisfying, but light vegetarian appetizer or meal.

Here’s the recipe, which serves four, with my tweaks and notes (in italics):

Roasted Portobello Mushroom and Blue Cheese Salad*

Ingredients:

  • About 3 tablespoons kosher red-wine vinegar (I didn’t have any on hand, so I substituted balsamic. Not a problem at all)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 portobello mushroom tops only (to clean, pat the tops with a wet paper towel)
  • 2 or 3 medium heads endive (great for crunch, but I’d say three, as the original recipe calls for, is a bit excessive)
  • 8 ounces mesclun or mixed salad greens, (about 10 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces blue cheese (cholov yisrael, kosher)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, heavy pinch of salt and heavy pinch of pepper. Slowly add olive oil, whisking to emulsify. Set aside 1/2 cup dressing to toss with the salad later.
  2. Place mushrooms, stem side up, on a baking sheet (or tin foil– less cleanup!). Coat both sides with some of the remaining dressing. Roast mushrooms, brushing with more dressing every 5 minutes, until they are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Toss endive, mesclun, onion, and cheese with reserved dressing, and divide among salad bowls. Cut portobellos 1/2 inch thick, and arrange a few slices over each serving.

*From Everyday Food’s “Fresh Flavor Fast”

 

 

 

 

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