Monday, August 17, 2009

Jewish Cooking for the Clueless

IT'S HERE! My new cookbook - Jewish Cooking Boot Camp - came in the mail last week. I know that this cookbook was made for me - especially when there is an article on page 7 titled "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Kitchen Injuries."

I'd like to add a new segment to the cookbook from the Clueless Cook (a.k.a. yours truly). I call it - Reasons to read the recipe BEFORE you start to cook.

Reason #1 - By reading the entire list of ingredients, you can make sure that you have each item in your kitchen. If you don't follow this philosophy, you will likely annoy your spouse when you send him or her out to the store to retrieve the missing (and usually hard to find) ingredient.

Reason #2 - Read the recipe again to make sure that you have all of the kitchen equipment you need. This would have come in handy before I was in the middle of making cupcakes with the kids from scratch without a sifter.

Reason #3
Read the amount that you need of each ingredient prior to putting it in the bowl. Otherwise, you may wind up quadrupling the one ingredient that you didn't read while using the exact measurements of the ingredients that you did read. Yes, I admit that I did this. I overloaded on the tomato sauce and put in the exact ingredients while making a mango sauce for my tilapia.

One more cooking tip for clueless cooks out there (are there any out there besides me?), buy 2 of everything so that when you mess it up - you have everything you need to start all over again!

Yeah, the brisket I plan to make for the High Holidays should make for a very interesting story. Wish me luck and stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Lists

I'm back! Does September feel like a big freight train coming down the tracks and there is nothing we can do to stop it? The last time I blogged was in January (sorry about that). In January, I was dreaming about many things that I was looking forward to over the summer.

  • Family vacation to DisneyWorld (check)
  • Billy Joel/Elton John Concert (check)
  • The Producers at the Walnut (check)
  • Phillies games (check - 2 down & 1 to go)
  • Neighborhood BBQs (check)

I still have a few things left on my summer to do list, but my fall list is getting longer by the minute.

  • Back to School shopping
  • Back to School nights
  • Soccer practice
  • Soccer games
  • Sunday School
  • Hebrew School (new for us this year)
  • High Holidays
  • High School Reunion (20th in November)

It's time to pull the train into the station and get some perspective on this. So, I took out one of my favorite books: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and It's All Small Stuff). And I made a new list to deal with some of my stress

  • Be aware of the snowball effect - meaning if I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of one thing and it turns into 5 more things - get a grip and go back to sleep.
  • Live in the Present Moment - practice living in the here and now and less on worrying about the past and future
  • Allow Myself to be Bored - WHAT! This one is the hardest for me. But the book says that if I allow myself to be bored - even for a short time - boredom will be replaced with peaceful feelings. Okay - I'll give it a shot! :)
  • Cut Myself Some Slack - Okay, sounds good. I know I'm not perfect and not everything on my to do list will get done. The important things will be addressed and the rest can wait for another day.

If you have this book hidden away in a closet and you haven't picked it up in a while. Maybe it is a good time to do so - before you see the freight train coming your way.