Monday morning Tea

I spent most of my day, yesterday, doing homework and catching up on papers that I had to write.  It is a long and hard day of studying for finals that are coming up this week and next week.  I didn’t have much time to relax and think about how blessed I am to be in the world today.

149Today, I really wanted to find some time to spend thinking about the goodness that we have from our Creator.  There are many thing that I enjoy in my life and one of them is having my morning tea in the rain.  I love the sounds of the rain.  When all the world (well, at least in my world) is quite and all you hear is the sound of the rain falling to the earth.  I often say HaShem is blessing us with water to drink, feeding the plants of the earth for our food and giving us time to reflect and think about the beauty of His creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How do you like to spend your quiet time?

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Enjoying my Shabbot

I’m always looking for new ways to cook food.  I wanted to make my Shabbos fun with good food, as I try to do each week.  This week I made some really good Challah, which for me was a blessing in itself.  Most of the time my challah does not come out good.

Not having anyone to share my Shabbos with was very different but it was so relaxing and I was able to spend lots of time in praying and talking with Hashem.  I am now fully charged and ready to face my weeks of finals in school.  I want to share with you my Shabbos menu.

challah

coleslaw

Sweet and sour salmon

veggies ribs

mashed potatoes

sweet potatoes

brussels sprouts

yellow cake I made

I enjoyed my Shabbos very much and really did not want it to end.

I’m feeling closer to HaShem then I’ve ever felt before.  I know that this change in my life is for the good.  I can feel it more and more each day.  Things that I would do that were not always right, I have no desire to do them.  I’m enjoying studying the Torah and discovering new things that I never knew about the G-d we serve.

I’m also learning to pray in the Hebrew, how cool is that!  I love it.  It really sounds and feels so much better with you pray in Hebrew.

My new Kosher Kitchen!

My decision to change my kitchen was not a hard one.  I’ve longed to have a kitchen that was beyond clean. 🙂

On Sunday, 14 April 2013 I set in motion to make my kitchen kosher.  I watched over 50 videos on youtube on how to do this and why.  Let me say this, if you are going to do a change in your life, know the reason for such change and then research to implement that change properly.

This process was not easy and it was not simple.  It is not a matter of just cleaning your home or removing some of the food you have.  Let me share my experience with you on what it took for me to have a kosher kitchen.

Day 1

On 14 April I got up and shared a dream I had with my husband about having a kosher kitchen.  He said to me, that’s funny, I was thinking the same thing about a week ago but did not know how to approach you about it.  I said to him, Let’s Do It!

Now let me be clear, when I said “let’s” he meant me.  🙂

I took all the food out of the cabinets and the refrigerator to check the labels for Kosher symbols.  You will find this website helpful for those symbols.  Click Here.   ( a little advice, I found that it is best to do some research on each one of those)

I had to get rid of most of the food in my house.  Now this can be costly to some.  I don’t recommend that you throw out your food it was something I decided to do.  I read that some people will cook all the food they have that is not kosher and then began the process.  I think that is best.  It is not what I wanted to do.

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This was full

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The Freezer empty. Most of the vegetables I brought did not have a kosher symbol on them so I had to get rid of them.

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My cabinets are always full but now…..

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The refrigerator is almost empty. I have my juicing veggies in the drawers.

Day 2 and 3

I now had to focus on the pots and pans and all the dishes.  The Torah forbids the cooking and consumption of any milk with any meat.  You can find this twice in the book of Exodus and once in Deuteronomy.  It states “Do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.”  for this reason it is prohibited to mix dairy and meat.  Therefore I needed to remove anything that I used meat and dairy together   My husband and I are vegetarians but after he joined the Army he began eating some meats on occasions.  Things like turkey and maybe chicken.  Never pork!  That is strictly forbidden in the Torah.  (we have NEVER eaten or touched pork).

I found that some of my dishes were questionable.  “If in doubt, throw it out”  I sold all the dishes I had and all my pots and pans.  I also sold some of my mixing bowls.  This is what I was left with:

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As you can see not much to cook with at all.  Now we have to buy all new dishes, pots and pans, and utensils.  For me it is all worth it in the end.

Day 4-6

So on day 4 I began selling things that I could sale.  Things I could not I throw out.  Now I had to wash down the counters, the drawers, and the sink.  This was not as easy as it sounds.

On Day 5 I was so tired but I knew what I was doing for our good and would bring us closer to Hashem.  We cleaned all the baseboard in the house cleaned the bathrooms and mopped all the floors.

Here we are at day 6.  All the work is complete and we have a kosher kitchen!  I feel really good and happy that we can now serve good clean food in our home.  Next step: learning Hebrew, reading  and more reading and studying.  I’m so happy to be on this path

Stay tuned as I will share my journey……

Changing the way I do things


Some months ago my feet were placed on a path that I could never image I would be on, forget that I was raised christian.  I am discovering a whole new Hashem and how He commands us to worship Him.

Let me clear up that statement:  Hashem is not the one who changed, I am.  He is not new, I am.  He is just opening my eyes to how He commands that His people worship Him.

At first I was a little afraid to share this part of my life, after all, people will say; “how can you stop worshiping Jesus?”  My reply, “did Jesus ever worship Jesus?  If one takes the “New Testament  at face value, you have to agree, Jesus never prayed to himself.  When ever he prayed it was to his Father the creator of all things.  He also never asked anyone to pray to him but it seems that the world is doing just that, well, there are a small group that has always stayed faithful to the worship of One G-d.  The other thing that struck me was  how Christians has always used the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures to translate the “New Testament  but deny the worship of Hashem that they practice…hummmm

I believer there are so really true and loving people in Christianity, it is there that I was born and raised.  Anyway, this is not a post about what is right or wrong, I’m no philosopher to debate those issues.  🙂  One must follow his/her heart in those matters.

I was cleaning my house to make sure I was not disobeying any of the laws G-d has commanded for His people.  I noticed that I needed to get rid of most of the things I have.  It amazed me how much we don’t really understand the laws of health that Heshem has given to protect us from all harm.  If we really paid attention, we would see that our life should be a life of prayer.  Not just to through out a little something or even to give these long elaborate prayers that only benefit self.0417130542a

 

Prayer

One of the most important things we can do in life is prayer.  Prayer is how we increase our awareness of G-d and the role that G-d plays in our life.  Many people today say they only pray when they are inspired to do so, what does that mean?  If you only pray when you are “inspired” how will your awareness increase?  Practice makes perfect…..how often have your heard or said that to someone?  It is true, the more we pray the more aware of G-d we will become.  Let your mind fall deep in the words of Psalm 121 tonight and let it be the last thing you do before you sleep.  Night all.

 

Shabbat Challah

There are thousands of recipes for making Challah.  Challah is a braided bread.  I recently started watching a wonderful cooking show on the internet called Jamie Geller’s  Joy of Kosher.com.  You should check it out.  She is amazing!

I wanted to make her recipe for Challah this Shabbat (my husband does not like the one I make) hahahahaha

I watched the YouTube video of this process, you can find that here.

Now, you can go to her site to get the original but here is my take on what she did.

It takes about 4 hours total to make this Challah from start to finish so make sure you start early enough in the day so that you are not going over your time.  It is best to make it on Thursday, but I like my loaf to be fresh so I am daring. :).

This is going to make about 4 challahs so you can adjust it according to your family size and guest.  I made it just as she did only because she gave some really great ideas of what to do with the dough.  

Ingredients:  

start with 4 tablespoons of yeast to this add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 cups of luke warm water.  Give this a stir and cover it with a hand towel and set aside.

Next you will need a very large bowl ( I did not know this and used one that was too small).  In this very large bowl you will add 4 tablespoons of kosher salt, 6 pounds of flour ( if you can only find a 5 pound bag, get two).  There are 3.4 cups of flour to a pound so do the math :).  I think it was about 20 cups or so.

Next you add 2 cups of sugar and next you add 4 egg yolks.  Don’t make the mistake I did and add 6.  Oppps Lets see how it comes out with 6.  😦  *now it when I turn on my oven to preheat at 375, it also gives me a nice place to set my dough to rise*

Next make a well, ( whole in the middle of the flour mixture) and add the yeast, than add 4 more cups of lukewarm water.  Now comes the fun park, right?  Kneed your dough in the bowl while adding 1 cup of oil (a little at a time)  (if you bowl is not big enough, as obviously mine was not) kneed it on the bread board.  You want to do this for 10 minuets and then let it rest.  Then come back and kneed it for another 15 minuets or so adding the rest of the oil as you do. *your dough should not be sticky*

loosely cover the dough with a towel large enough to cover the entire bowel.  Like her, I also cover mine with a trash bag. 🙂  Place this in a warm spot and let it rise for an hour.  *I also like to keep my house temp. at 75 just to be sure it is warm enough for the dough*  After an hour punch down the dough and kneed it with lightly oiled hands to release air bubbles.  *it should have become double in size*

Cover the dough again with the towel and the bag and let it rise for another hour or more.  Now your dough should be perfect…..

Lightly oil your hands and punch it down again.  Use a very sharp knife to divide the dough into 4 equal parts.  Spray 4 9-inch baking pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  *this is to bake your bread*.

Now you are ready to make your ropes for your challah.  This is up to you how many ropes you want but for this post I did 6 ropes.  I also us my counter and not my bread board at this point, it gives me more space.  With oiled hands I take a piece of dough and play with it to get rid of all the air bubbles then I roll the dough into a long, thick rope, repeat this for the next rope until you have your desired amount.  Now for the braiding.  I suggest you watch her video for this part.  It is simple but hard.  Once you have the dough ready brush the challahs with one or two beaten eggs and sprinkle with anything you like on your bread.  Bake it for 10 minutes at 375 then lower your temperature to 350 if you want it crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until challah tops are dark golden brown, don’t burn it.  🙂

All your challahs to cool slightly before serving.  She also noted that once your challah has been sliced you can then store what is leftover in sealable plastic bags for up to 5 days.  * it never last that long in my house* 🙂

I will post pictures soon!