Passover 2016/5776

So, another Passover Seder done.  A small one this year, which was lovely.  We needed the extra table but we were all at the same one, in the same room.

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All the usual foods were present: matzo ball soupbrisket, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, roasted asparagus and cauliflower, charoset (which I made up, using one apple, some pecans, some walnuts, some dates, some manischewitz, honey and cinnamon),  and chocolate caramel matzo.

Many of our usual suspects were not present, sadly.  But we had a lovely cohort, nonetheless.  My dad joined us, as did a good friend and her sweet new (less than a month old!) baby.  Who I held.  For an hour.  Bliss.

The table was beautiful, place cards were made by Grace and everyone seemed to have a good time.

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Plague masks were worn, happily.

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Grace had her first shot at the four questions.

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And, of course, we ate like kings, while leaning.

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There was even enough brisket left over to make hash for breakfast the next day.

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Chag Semach to all of you and happy spring!

So overdue….

I was in the habit, for a bit, of writing letters to my kids here. Then life caught up with me and like so many other things, I fell out of that habit.  But?!  I have a few minutes today.  So today, I’m writing them a combined letter.  Indulge me, won’t you?

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Dear G. and M.,

Oh, my loves.  Do you have any idea how much I adore you?  How much joy you bring to my life?  How much I enjoy watching you grow and change?  You two really are so wonderful.  Every single day I wake up, excited to see what you’ll do that day.  Really.  As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.

IMG_5909You both have so much joy, excitement and curiosity for and about the world around you.  You’re both adventurous enough that if I say, “hey, do you guys want to…?”  you almost always say “YES” before I can even finish my thought.

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M., it’s so hard for me to believe that you are four now.  FOUR!  You are so joyful, so affectionate, so sweet and so loving that I feel lucky every time you smile at me.

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You have learned so much since you’ve started daycare and even more since G. started Kindergarten.  Because you are now at daycare without G, you’re starting to develop your own opinions and ideas and sometimes you can be very, very adamant in those.  You have your own sense of style which ranges from tutus and sparkly red party shoes to spiderman bow ties.

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You love to run, do puzzles, build legos and play with G.  You sing and dance at will and I’ll often find you singing or talking to yourself when you’re playing alone.  You love to help me cook and do other “jobs”.

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You 100% adore your sister and if you could be with her all the time, you would.

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Both you and G. are so active and enjoy running, burpees and hanging out with November Project.

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G, my girl, my firstborn, my love.  How can you possibly be six?  SIX?!  You are just blowing me away every single day with your personality, joy and energy.  You are never still.  Ever.

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Well, I guess that’s not true.  You do have your quiet, introspective times.

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You are so protective of M.

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I love watching you two together.  But, sweetie, I just love watching you.  You’re smart and funny and passionate.  So passionate.  You’ve jumped into public school life with both feet and every single day you come home with new stories and ideas and things you’ve learned.

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And you are also affectionate and sweet.

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Your imagination is amazing and you love to play pretend games with M. and your friends.

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You love goofing around for the camera.

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You also love to help me cook.

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Sometimes you like to match me.  Sometimes I’m the last person you want to match.

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My mother, OGWO, used to say to me that she loves me more than anything in the world.  I used to think that wasn’t possible but… I get it now.  If I had no one else but you two, that would be enough for me.  I very much think I was born to be your mumma and you two were meant to be my kids.

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IMG_7015And while our family is far from perfect- we yell, a lot, and your dad and I often disagree- we are still a family and you two are at the center.  All that we do is to support you and help you grow.  Both of you are doing such good jobs at that!

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Happy fourth and sixth birthday, my darlings.  I love you big, no matter what and to infinity and beyond.  Forever.

xoxoxoxoxoxox

 

Healthy and Fast

Just a fast blog post to remind you

  1.  I’m still here.
  2. I’m still cooking.
  3.  It’s still hectic here.

My favorite thing to make on a Monday night, when I’m just exhausted from the weekend and the entire work week is looming, and I am dying for something green and healthy and easy is this:

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I can’t take credit for the recipe.  It is 100% from Smitten Kitchen.  She calls them broccoli melts and they are simply divine.

You can click over there for her recipe but basically it’s broccoli mixed with cheese, lemon, red pepper, salt and garlic.

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Then you toast some yummy bread.

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Heap on the broccoli mixture….

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…drape them in cheese and put them under the broiler and oh, it is so. good.  Really.  Even the husband, who isn’t a fan of vegetarian fare, ate his.  I encourage you to make this right now.  This second.  And then bring some over to me, because as I post this, these things occur to me:

  1.  It is Monday.
  2. The time change kicked my ass.
  3. I have nothing to make for dinner.

Come rescue me!

 

Birthdays and Stuff

February is  busy month around here.  Both my mother and father were born in February so we celebrate that.  My grandmother was born in February so we celebrate that too.  My son was born in February so we definitely celebrate that.  A lot.  So, I give you a birthday (and some other stuff) post.

My son and my daughter are almost two years apart. Which means that we usually do a joint birthday party for them sometime between their birthdays.  [Sidebar:  I can not believe what people are doing for birthday parties now that my daughter is in kindergarten.  How are people affording this?!?!  Trampoline parks, plaster fun time, etc…. it’s just so overwhelming!]  So we end up doing a family party on the day and then a bigger party for both.

They get to pick the cakes they want.  This year, my son requested a “dark vader cake”.  We watched a few youtube videos and I very seriously said to him, “Mumma can’t carve a cake buddy. Sorry.”  So I bought a cake pan.  Yes, they sell these.  Amazon has everything.  With the help of a good friend, we made the cake happen.

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She had some ideas as to how to decorate it and it did turn out well.

We even had enough for a second cake.

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We have this birthday tradition with a ribbon.  My parents did it for me.  Basically, it’s a long, long ribbon which starts at your bedroom door and goes all through the house. There are small presents and gifts all along it.  My kids love it.

We also had a birthday breakfast out.  Which included toys at the table and ice cream after breakfast (who is the best mumma ever?!).

That night we had the actual cake.

Delicious.

We did the same for my mother’s birthday which falls on Valentine’s Day.  Of course, she did not request a Dark Vader cake.  She wanted vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and vanilla ice cream.

It’s important to lick the mixing beaters:

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I’ve also been lucky enough to be part of a rotating dinner club recently.  We had a pizza night this past weekend and oh, it was so, so, so good.

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My contribution was a dessert pizza but that wasn’t the only dessert.

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Those cream puffs (chocolate cream puffs!) and giant cookie were so delicious.

I promise, at some point, I’ll post recipes again.  But for now, happy birthday, happy valentine’s day and happy winter to you all!

 

Scenes from Winter

Yup. A third post.  Look, go big or go home, right?

Really, what this means is that I am 1) at work and  burnt out, 2) scrolling through photos on my phone and finding all the food ones and 3) desperate to get myself back into a posting habit.  So, bear with me as I try.IMG_0180

Winter sangria.  Always welcome.  This particular pair was with a good friend, in a local tavern near us. We bonded and laughed and had a great time.

We made our annual cookies to decorate. The kids get super into it and we even had a friend over to help us.  They came up with some…unusual…decorating techniques but in the end, they had fun and the cookies tasted good.

The kids also decorated t-shirts for Daddy.  This is another yearly tradition.

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I also attempted peppermint bark this year.  All the mint fell off because I forgot to press it into the white chocolate.  Oh well… (It occurs to me as I write this, that the last three posts have now discussed kitchen failures.  Oops.  Maybe my skills are regressing?!)

Before the holiday rush, we celebrated Thanksgiving. The kids made the place cards for the table and attached them to each chair.

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We also managed to visit the beach right around Christmas- we’ve had some warmer than usual temperatures around here.

 

There have been some beautiful sunsets, sunrises and snow here.

So, there you go.  More photos.  Hopefully I’ll post again soon, with more food focus.

 

 

Ugly but Tasty

(I know, I know, two posts in two days?!  The excitement!)

Yesterday, January 27, was National Chocolate Cake Day.  I wasn’t feeling all that well so couldn’t celebrate this holiday appropriately.  But today?  Today we made a cake.

I used Ina Garten‘s cake and frosting recipe.  It was all going well.

My helper was fascinated.

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We measured and mixed and preheated the ovens.  We poured and leveled the batter into pans.

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This is where perhaps I went wrong.  I decided that rather than two cakes (which is what Ina did), I wanted to do three.  Keep that in mind, because I think that’s why it ended up… ugly.

While they baked, we did some clean-up.

It is important to lick all spoons and bowls shirtless.  Easier clean up later.

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The cakes cooled and we made the frosting.

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We talked about what to put in between the layers and agreed on the chocolate spread I’d just bought the day before, in a fit of homesick for Israel-ness.

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(When we lived there, my friend Heather and I couldn’t believe that parents gave this to the kids for breakfast, spread on toast.  It’s really just chocolate frosting.)

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Looks okay, right?  Yeah, well the next two cakes were really hard to take out of the pan so that they started crumbling at the edges as I took them out and frosted them.

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So, in the end, we had an ugly, crumbling, lopsided cake…..

That was really, really delicious.

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I mean dark, chocolaty, sweet, dense but moist.  My husband cut into it and said, “Your cakes are so much better than box cakes. I can tell just looking at it.”  My kids ate it and declared, through chocolate-stained teeth, “Mumma, you make the best cake.”

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Go forth and celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day.  Even if you’re a few days late.  It’s the kind of holiday I can absolutely get behind.

 

 

Photo Dump

Oh you guys.  I have been so remiss in posting.  I mean REALLY remiss.  Like…months and months and months.

I have zero excuses.  None.  Not a one.  Life is busy.  (So is everyone’s.)  Life is hectic.  (So is everyone’s).  I have two kids under the age of 6. (lots of people do!)  Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Nonetheless, I am cooking.  Perhaps not anything I can brag about or post about or photograph, but I’m cooking.  (Obviously I am cooking, how else would we be eating?)

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The kids and I often make cookies.  This was in July but still… cookies….

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An excellent summer meal.

See all that above?  That was all written about two months ago.  That is to say, LAST YEAR.

Yeah….  This whole life thing is getting in the way of me cooking, photographing, documenting, writing and keeping up with this blog.  Which makes me sad.  Sad, sad, sad.  I’ve always loved writing here and the fact that I can’t squeeze it in makes me feel like a piece of me is missing or changing or becoming less…. vibrant.

So, nothing to do for that except keep trying.  So here I am.  Trying.

New Year’s Eve I made beef wellington to celebrate a year’s end and a new year beginning.

My husband’s birthday is close to New Year’s and the kids and I had fun making him a lego cake.

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There’s a long weekend in January and the husband and I managed to get away for an overnight to Vermont where we had one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, at Junction, which is at The Essex.

See?  We’ve been eating well.

My kids have been growing well, too.  My oldest is now in actual school and so I’ve been making lunches every day and you know what?  I actually HATE it.  I would’ve thought that I would like making lunches but, nope, not at all.  I rejoice every Friday when it’s pizza and jello/pudding day and she wants to buy lunch.

We spend some time being silly, though.  Always time for that.

Mostly, however, I am trying to appreciate what I have.  My kids are great, my jobs are good and fulfilling, we eat well and laugh often.

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I will try, however, to get some recipes up here.  In the jam-packed, full afternoons, evenings and weekends, I will try to pause and take the time to document so I can write later.  Thanks for checking in once in a while here, and not giving up on me!