Its The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

I love eating super fresh food.  For the fourth year, we are members of the Alstede Farms Community Supported Atgriculture (CSA) program.  Every Tuesday we get a box of same day harvest fruits and veggies and a dozen eggs.   This week was a little light, the highlight for me would have to be the tomatoes.  Everthing else I’ve managed to incorporate into our meals.  The tomatoes I eat all by themselves, they are amazing. 

For the next 30 weeks I will be bragging about the produce we receive from the farm.  For the next few weeks we will be loving the spring asparagus and greens.  For Shabbos this week, I made meatloaf with chopped farm mushrooms, roasted asparagus and mushrooms, a wilted spinach salad with Craisins and mushrooms and a couple dishes with no farm produce in them.  I’ve already eaten the tomatoes. And of course I’ve been making eggs for breakfast with my farm fresh eggs!  I love CSA season, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Another One Year Anniversary

Today is our first anniversary, by Hebrew date.  We got married on the 6th of Nissan, also known as Vav Nissan.  The vav in the Hebrew language connects words and ideas.  Which is perfect for us.  Our Hebrew anniversary connects our former (civil) married life with our new (Jewish) married life.  We didn’t have much choice in what day we got married, we wanted to after my conversion but before Pesach.  So, we are right in the middle, there it goes, connecting two people and two different lives. Our married life after our Jewish wedding has been a lot different.  There are certain mitzvos only married people keep.  But there is also the intense joy (simcha) that we received on our wedding day.  I hope we can remember that each year and use our anniversary to infuse more simcha into our lives!

One Year

One year since I took the big dip.   525, 600 minutes…

Don’t worry, I’m not going to quote the entire song.  This is also the yartzeit (anniversary) of a rabbi I learned under in Israel.  Kind of a bittersweet day, his life ended as my new life began.  I am grateful for all I learned under him and I continue to relate my learning to my life.  I feel as if I’m constantly quoting or remembering something he said.  He helped me when I was starting out in this great adventure and I am grateful he was there to guide my beginning. 

Looking ahead I hope to continue to commerate this anniversary by taking on some more learning.  I have only begun this crazy adventure and hope it goes full speed ahead! 

Is there such a thing?

I think we have too many books! We are finally making a good effort to unpack. Most of the boxes left are filled with books. We need more bookcases. We have religious books, professional books, fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, reference, you name it, we have it!
We are also getting new to us furniture, hope we can fit it in between all the books!

Frum Food Fridays!

So, Friday is my official prep day for Shabbat (Shabbos), our Sabbath. I love cooking. I love creating. I had gotten into a sort of rut when it came to what to make. Then I got a spiralizer! And it was a game changer! This thing is awesome. So far I’ve done yellow and butternut squash. I’m trying to make our meals fresh and colorful. Who needs pasta when you can have sautéed veggies?
Our Shabbos menu this week is green salad, tomato and hearts of palm salad, chicken and veggie soup, garlic green beans with onions, saucy chicken made with coconut milk and veggie broth (an experiment!), and angel hair butternut squash. Phew! That’s just Friday night! For lunch, we are having salmon salad, tomatoes with hearts of palm, green salad, cholent (crock pot made roast beef and veggies), the same green beans and squash as Friday night. For dessert each meal we will have dairy free ice cream, fruit and of course plenty of beverages.
What do you make that is fresh and colorful? How do you incorporate fruits and veggies into your meals more often?

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My Hair

Okay, I love my hair.  I really do.  I have long, thick, dark brown hair that naturally highlights about a dozen different colors in the summer. Or, it used to, it doesn’t get exposed to the sun. I now cover my hair.  Yep, I keep it under cover.  And I also love covering it.  I cover it because I believe it is something not to be shared with the general public.  Like the rest of my body, it has been created for my enjoyment and for my husband’s enjoyment.  I also cover my body with reasonable modest clothes.  I don’t wear a long sleeved sack cloth and call it good.  I enjoy shopping for and putting together creative outfits that keep me warm and beautiful.

I protect my body and my hair from people who aren’t meant to enjoy it.  I will discuss this further in the future, but I really feel that our culture has gone too far.  Just going to the mall reminds me how far this means.  Girls and women are EXPECTED to share their body with anyone and everyone.  Clothing isn’t created to flatter anyone, its created to highlight what society feels is sexy.  I could rant on about this for days, but I will rein myself in.

In short, I dress to flatter my body and to enjoy fun clothing.  I don’t dress so everyone has the ability to window shop me.  I cover my hair to reserve that part of my being for the private intimate relationship between me and my husband.  Intimacy is so much more than the act of physical relations between a husband and wife.  He knows me and understands my needs on a different level than the rest of my world, including my parents.   There is really nothing like the relationship between spouses. It was created for a good and beautiful purpose. Me keeping part of my physical being only for this part of me gives me that freedom.

Washing Dishes in Cold Water

Who washes dishes in cold water voluntarily? Me, that’s who!
As you may or may not know, observant Jews who are shomer Shabbat, that is, keep the biblical laws regarding the Sabbath, don’t turn on the hot water during our Sabbath. For some, that means not doing any dishes. For cray-cray people like myself who can’t stand to see dirty dishes anywhere, we wash with cold water. Which means I am only hopefully getting them really clean and use less soap because cold water isn’t so great at rinsing off soap.
Just recently I was standing at my sink on a Friday night reflecting on what I was doing. And why I was doing it. And what brought me to this point to happily wash dishes in cold water. I waited five years to have the privilege of being obligated and gifted with the Sabbath. A gift of rest. For 25 hours every week I am obligated to give up my technology and my time, to focus on my Creator and be able to experience the joy of this gift. In exchange, He asks me to focus on Him and not on the mundane tasks that distract me during the week. This exchange is so unequal. My tiny sacrifice of keeping up with my Facebook feed or having super scrubbed dishes cannot compare to what He has waiting for me every week and for eternity. Who needs clean dishes when you have this gift waiting for you? While my mind will tell me to wash them, my soul will be thankful for the gift. My gift of washing dishes in cold water, what I waited five years to receive.