Snappy Stories (June 1, 1926) … Who is this cruel taskmaster, this architect of anxiety? (Sept 18, 2011 / 19 Elul 5771) …item 2.. Quick to Judge — And did I mention the gorgeous weather? (February 9, 2012 / 16 Shevat 5772) ..

Snappy Stories (June 1, 1926) … Who is this cruel taskmaster, this architect of anxiety? (Sept 18, 2011 / 19 Elul 5771) …item 2.. Quick to Judge — And did I mention the gorgeous weather? (February 9, 2012 / 16 Shevat 5772) ..
Easy Healthy Dinners
Image by marsmet542
My frustration only grew. How can I be efficient if no one else is? I told myself. (Instead of what I really should have said: “You are becoming a little obsessive; have a drink and go to sleep.")
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…..item 1)….. website aish.com … My Relentless Taskmaster … The tyranny of To-Do lists.

Sept 18, 2011 / 19 Elul 5771

by Emuna Braverman

www.aish.com/f/mom/My_Relentless_Taskmaster.html

Help! I’m feeling trapped. My oppressor is a relentless taskmaster, tormenting my waking hours and disturbing my sleep. Whenever I try to settle down this instrument of torture attacks. In the wee hours of the morning (I’m usually available around 4:00 a.m. if anyone wants company!) it pounds away at me relentlessly. Until I finally give in and leave my warm, but no longer comfortable bed to do its bidding.

Who is this cruel taskmaster, this architect of anxiety?

It is my To-Do list.

My To-Do list seems to resemble a scene from Disney’s Fantasia. No matter how quickly I check off items, they are replaced – with even more than I began with. The list overflows like the hapless Mickey Mouse’s buckets of water.

I tried not making a list but that only made the voices in my head scream louder. To preserve my sanity (and that of those around me) I tried to write everything down. That was list was totally and completely overwhelming (you have a similar list, right?) so I sought advice.

My husband, whose interest in the preservation of my sanity is the strongest, suggest that I don’t look at the whole list and just move through each piece slowly and methodically, one at a time. This helped – and dinner is still on the table awaiting him every night (although take-out is sounding very tempting).

But the midnight clamoring persisted. Why aren’t there any offices open at 1 a.m? I have some questions I need answered. Why is shopping the only commercial activity available at that time? And why isn’t everyone else responding to my emails as rapidly as I’m sending them? Don’t they know how busy I am?

Don’t they recognize I’m depending on their answers?

My frustration only grew. How can I be efficient if no one else is? I told myself. (Instead of what I really should have said: “You are becoming a little obsessive; have a drink and go to sleep.")

Perhaps I’m jittery from all the coffee I now need to keep my awake (I console myself with the fact that three to five cups a day are supposed to ward off Alzheimer’s) or perhaps it’s just the ongoing tyranny of that To-Do list. Can someone else please go to the dry cleaner’s and the grocery store?

It’s not a time management or organization issue – I could write those books. It’s strictly a numbers game. There’s just a lot to do. And there’s really no one to blame but me. I took on all my responsibilities – gladly. And I am happy about all of them. Really.

There seems to be only one solution. Hire a personal assistant! No, seriously, I mean a deeper, more spiritual solution. I need help. And while I could (and do) delegate where possible, the real assistance I need is more profound. I need to ask the Almighty to give me the energy and the peace of mind required to accomplish my daily tasks. And I need to remember He’s got my back.

By myself, I’m very limited. With His help, there’s nothing I can’t accomplish. My mistake has been thinking it’s all on me, that it’s all my responsibility. I can breathe a little easier now. I remembered that I have a partner, that the Almighty and I, we’re in this together. Take that To-Do list!
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…..item 2)…. aish.com … HOME FAMILY MOM WITH A VIEW … Quick to Judge

Why is our instinctive reaction all too often to be critical?
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February 9, 2012 / 16 Shevat 5772
by Emuna Braverman

www.aish.com/f/mom/Quick_to_Judge.html

It was the last day of mid-winter vacation. The sun was shining brightly, the ocean was calm and blue, and the temperature hovered in the mid-70’s (Just threw that in to make New Yorkers jealous!). We hadn’t really taken any family trips during this time so we decided to go out with a bang and go “segway”-ing along the beach. If you haven’t tried it, segwaying (I’m sure it’s not yet a legitimate verb) is a lot of fun – especially when done in such a setting. (I also did it recently in Talpiot on the Haas Promenade overlooking Jerusalem – now that’s beautiful!)

Anyway, the view was spectacular, the weather perfect (did I mention that?) and there was the additional challenge of trying to weave in and out of the pedestrians and bikers. As we passed one group on bikes, I heard one guy mutter to another, as he glanced in our direction, “They are so lazy.”

At first I was outraged. How dare he?! He doesn’t even know me! Should I stop and tell him that I already got my exercise for the day; that I ran on the treadmill before I came to the beach?

Then I began to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. Why did I care what some complete stranger thinks? Why do I feel the need to present him with justification for my activities and choices? A simple “Harumph” or better yet, completely ignoring him would have sufficed.

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Finally I had the most sobering thought of all. I had been him. We frequently go biking at the beach and I always looked at those segwayers (now I’m creating nouns) and thought they were lazy. I felt virtuous and self-righteous about the fact that I was biking and they were cruising. Didn’t they recognize how much healthier my activity was than theirs? Didn’t they care about their bodies and their health? How self-indulgent they were…

It never occurred to me that perhaps, like me last week, they weren’t there for the exercise, that they were just having fun. And even more than that, it was family time. It was an opportunity to see the beautiful California coast.

And worse than that, I was so quick to judge – complete strangers, whose lives I knew nothing about, quick to put a negative spin on their activities and motivations. I may never have muttered the words but my thoughts were loud. I felt embarrassed by my own shallowness.

Why did I feel the need to judge them at all? Sometimes when our feelings are hurt, it can be a challenge to fulfill the mitzvah of judging others favorably. And yet we must try. But in this situation, the other vacationers had done nothing to me. We had no relationship whatsoever. They hadn’t spoken to me. They certainly hadn’t hurt or insulted me. And yet my instinctive reaction was to be critical of them. Not a moment to be proud of. The desire to build ourselves up at the expense of others is so ingrained and so insidious that it requires constant vigilance not to give in to it. I guess my defenses were down (see how I try to judge myself favorably!) as I was caught up in the pleasure of the moment. But we can never relax our defenses because that’s when our base inclinations see their chance to attack and thrive!

I like to think that, besides the fun, the family time and the opportunity to once again appreciate the Almighty’s beautiful world, I gained some perspective, that I made a small stride forward in the area of thinking before I speak, in constantly being on my guard and judging others more favorably.

Turns out it wasn’t only a pleasurable activity (which it definitely was) but a chance for growth as well.

And did I mention the gorgeous weather?
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Sunset Cook Book of favorite recipes — Reprinted many times between 1949 and 1960’s (Paperback) …..item 1..Homemade, Healthy & Tasty (January 11, 2012 / 16 Tevet 5772) …..item 2..Winter Soups & Stews …

Sunset Cook Book of favorite recipes — Reprinted many times between 1949 and 1960’s (Paperback) …..item 1..Homemade, Healthy & Tasty (January 11, 2012 / 16 Tevet 5772) …..item 2..Winter Soups & Stews …
Healthy Eating Habits
Image by marsmet543
Almost like a meat lasagna, this rolantini just substitutes the pasta for some mouth-watering eggplant. A great dish to make in advance and keep in your freezer for when you need a terrific healthy dinner quick & fast.

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……item 1)…. aish.com … Homemade, Healthy & Tasty … Simple dishes that are not only delicious but nutritiously satisfying. …

by Sarah Lasry
January 11, 2012 / 16 Tevet 5772
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www.aish.com/f/r/Homemade_Healthy__Tasty.html#

Now that we have had our fill of donuts and latkes it is time to focus on getting back to those homemade healthy meals that are not only delicious but nutritiously satisfying. Here are some of our favorite easy and simple dishes that are all about good, healthy and tasty food.

—– MEAT EGGPLANT ROLLANTINI
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Almost like a meat lasagna, this rolantini just substitutes the pasta for some mouth-watering eggplant. A great dish to make in advance and keep in your freezer for when you need a terrific healthy dinner quick & fast.
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1 large eggplant
1 large onion, diced
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. fresh crushed garlic
1tsp. cumin
1tsp. oregano
1tsp. basil
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 lb ground beef (I use lamb sometimes)
1/2 lb ground turkey
Kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper
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For the Tomato Sauce:

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ cup diced onion
2 tsp. fresh crushed garlic
1 tsp. curry powder
2 cups canned, crushed tomatoes
¼ cup fresh chopped basil
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. sugar (or 1 packet Splenda)

Trim eggplant. Cut lengthwise into slices about ½ inch thick. Transfer to a colander and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Let stand for about 10-15 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Wipe salt and exuded liquid off eggplant and rub on both sides with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Lay eggplants flat on baking sheet and bake until completely tender, turning once. Set aside.

In a large frying pan over med-high heat, sauté the onions in about 2-3 tbsp. of olive oil. When the onions begin to wilt, add the garlic, cumin, oregano, basil and thyme and mix well. Sauté for another few minutes until the onions are soft, and then add the ground beef and turkey to the onions. With the flat part of the wooden spoon, start mixing and breaking the meat into little chunks, while incorporating the onions and spices into mixture. Cover the pan for about 3 minutes and let cook. Uncover, and again with the wooden spoon break the meat chunks into small pieces; sauté for another minute and remove from flame and let cool.

While the meat is cooling, prepare the tomato sauce. In a small sauce pan on med-high heat, sauté the onions in the olive oil. Add the garlic, and curry to the onions and mix well. Sauté the onions for another 3-4 minutes or until they have softened and then add the crushed tomatoes. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer and then add the basil, bay leaf, salt and pepper and mix well; bring back to a low simmer.

Remove from flame and mix in the sugar.

Assemble the rollantini:

Take the cooled eggplant and lay flat on work space. Using a spoon, place a nice heaping dollop of meat mixture in the center of the eggplant. Fold or roll the eggplant over the meat mixture and then place seam side down onto a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Repeat with remainder of the meat and eggplant.

When all the rollantinis have been assembled, pour the tomato sauce generously over top, place into hot oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.
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—– STRIPED BASS WITH ARTICHOKES AND OLIVES
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This Striped Bass dish is the perfect meal to ease you into the habit of preparing yourself good nutritious meals that do not have to be bland and boring. Yes it does take a little effort to put this meal together, but the key word here is LITTLE!

And what is a little effort for a BIG reward: eating something that is outrageously tasty, totally satisfying and is good for you. It doesn’t get better than that!
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4 skinless filets of striped bass or other mild white fish like flounder
1 lemon
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
5 cloves minced garlic
4 tblsp olive oil
1/2 whole wheat baguette, or 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 pkg frozen artichoke hearts or 1 can of artichoke hearts, sliced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 container grape tomatoes

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Remove zest from the lemon with a microplane grater, and combine with parsley, garlic, 2 tblsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt in processor. Pulse and gradually add the bread until its coarse crumbs (if using crumbs, you can chop parsley and garlic and combine well with bread crumbs, zest, oil and salt)

Spread the bread crumbs in a 9×13 baking dish and arrange vegetables around the edges. Bake until bread crumbs are toasted and browned, and then scoop out crumbs to a bowl and add the fish to the baking dish. Top the fish with the bread crumbs, drizzle with some olive oil and bake until fish is cooked through and vegetables roasted, between 15-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Serve with lemon wedges.
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—– MEDITERRANEAN TUNA PITA
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This Mediterranean Tuna Pita was something I use to make all the time. For some reason I have not made it in ages, but it is really just the perfect quick and easy lunch. I love the addition of the sweet crunchy apples in my tuna salad. It is a really terrific twist to a delicious and tangy tuna sandwich.

Tip: I use this dressing for a myriad of dishes. I find it works particularly well as a marinade for tilapia, salmon or tuna steak.

If you are not interested in eating any type of bread – this tuna salad also works its magic on a simple bed of crispy iceberg lettuce!

2 whole wheat pitas, halved
1 can of dark tuna
1 green apple, peeled & diced
1 Asian red pear, diced
½ cup shredded carrots
½ avocado, diced (optional)
1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

For Dressing:

1 heaping tbsp. mayonnaise (lite is fine)
1 tbsp. sweet teriyaki
1 tsp. spicy Dijon mustard
½ tsp. ginger powder
½ tsp. garlic powder

Warm up your pita breads in the microwave oven for 30 seconds and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, mash your tuna and then add all the apple, pear and carrots. Mix gently with a spoon. Stuff the whole wheat pitas with shredded lettuce and then add your tuna mixture and top off with sliced avocado.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, add all your dressing ingredients and mix well with a fork till well combined. Pour over your tuna in pita and enjoy!

For more great recipes visit Kosherstreet.com
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…..item 2)…. aish.com … Winter Soups & Stews … The perfect dinner meal.

HOME FAMILY COOKING CORNER

January 27, 2012 / 3 Shevat 5772

by Sarah Lasry

www.aish.com/f/r/Winter_Soups__Stews.html

Warm and delicious for those cold and wet winter days, these soups and stews are super easy to make.

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—– POOR MAN’S BEEF STEW

I am not sure why I call this Poor Man’s Beef Stew. Maybe because it really doesn’t matter what type of combination of Beef, Chicken or Sausages you throw in the pot, it will still always come out tasty and delicious.

Ingredients:

1 large onion
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. of each of the following spices: cumin, ground mustard, ginger, garlic powder, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, turmeric, parsley
kosher salt & black pepper to taste
1-2 lb package of flanken (or any beef)
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots. diced
5-6 sweet Italian sausage, cut into bite size pieces ( I use either Meal-mart or jack gourmet brand – in freezer section)
6 medium size red potatoes, cleaned, and cut into cubes with skin on
2 cup good red wine
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup Favorite BBQ Sauce ( I tested a great sauce that I had gotten free at this years kosherfest)

Directions:

In a large dutch oven on med-high sauté your onions in the olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. Add all the spices and mix well, and sauté for another minute or two.

Add the flanken and brown on both sides for about 2 minutes per side. After browning, remove from pot and set aside ( I use my lid as plate)

Then add the carrots and celery to the pot. Mix and sauté vegetables for about 2-3 minutes. Add the cut up sausages and potatoes sauté everything for another 3-4 minutes.

Deglaze your pot by adding the red wine, use your wooden spoon to scrape up all the good brown bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan and mix everything well. Bring the wine to a slow simmer and add back the flanken pieces to the pot.

Add the frozen peas and then pour in the the broth and the BBQ sauce. Mix everything in well.

Cover pot and lover flame to medium low and cook on stove top for about 2 hours.

Serve in a bowl with some delicious bread on the side.
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—– SPICY CHICKEN CORN CHOWDER

I am obsessed with corn chowder. No matter where I go, if they have it on the menu I order it or if I see a recipe for it, I have to try it. Am I the only one?

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 package smoked turkey (about 5-6 slices)
4 pieces pastrami
1 onion, chopped
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. cilantro
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. curry powder (optional)
2 15 oz. cans creamed corn
1 can of white and yellow corn niblets
½ cup soy milk

Directions:

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot with broth. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes, flipping chicken half way through.

Transfer chicken to plate and reserve broth. Shred chicken into bite size pieces. Cook smoked turkey, pastrami and onion in soup pot with the spices for about 5 minutes. Add all corn, cook for 2 minutes. Add reserved chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened. Stir in soy milk and chicken and let it cook for another 5 minutes.

Tips: While I love homemade chicken stock, I almost never have time these days to make it fresh. Now you can find great organic and msg free chicken or vegetable stock/broth in your local groceries that will work great in this and any other recipe that call for it. The key to a good grocery chicken stock is too look for one that has a short ingredient list that includes vegetables like carrots, celery and onions.
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—– CHICKEN TOMATO BARLEY SOUP

You know what they say about Chicken Soup being for the Soul –Well this twist on traditional chicken soup is for when I am feeling cold and achy and need something really satisfying.

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken wings or chicken thighs
1 extra large parsnip (or 2 medium), peeled & chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used bay portabella because that’s what I had in fridge – but any will do)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 small onion, cut into quarters
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger
3 large cloves of garlic
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 handful of fresh dill
1 1/2 cup barley
2 cups crushed tomatoes
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large pot add all your ingredients . I put the fresh parsley and fresh dill in a cheesecloth before putting in the soup. Fill the pot with water and then cook on stove on high until starts to boil , about 20 minutes, and then lower flame to medium low and continue to cook for another 1 1/2 hours.

FYI – I use a 10 quart pot and about 10-12 cups of water depending on how chunky I cut my vegetables.
Visit www.kosherstreet.com for more great recipes.
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