Tips For Enjoying The Celebrating Spirit, Saving Money and Planning Ahead
The day after Simchat Torah, I feel sad. Tired, overstuffed, but sad. We Jews are very lucky. We have one month of celebration, reflection, forgiveness, restarts and many happy gatherings.
We joke, but we love going to supermarkets at midnight, purchasing every new plastic tableware design and updating our Judaica collections. I tell my non-religious friends they have no idea what they are missing when they don’t eat with twenty other people in sukkahs for a week.
However, for us, the celebrations really never end. As I write this article, my counter has a huge bowl with yeast rising for the next batch of challahs for this upcoming Shabbos. And, like many of you, my mail is filled with endless invitations for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, those shul and fundraising galas plus special birthdays, anniversaries and Shabbos meals. We are arranging our lives around celebrating.
Some Great Planning Tips
Lucky for us, stores are filled with fall decor, Halloween costumes, party favors and candy, as stores are promoting early Christmas sales. While we don’t acknowledge and/or participate in some of those events, we can take advantage of what’s around us.
***Take advantage of sales for as stores don’t have space to restock leftover or seasonal inventory. Some of the best Purim costumes are created, purchased and stored away now for Purim. Summer plastic serving pieces are great for next year’s Sukkahs. Plus, buying some sale items like honey, or kosher wines is always a good idea.
***If you are like me, you probably baked extra challahs with raisins, apples, and sweet crumb toppings. Try a Thanksgiving stuffing recipe for stuffing or bread pudding. Made a savory or stuffed meat Challah, change it up by adding chestnuts and top with gravy,
Here is a favorite recipe I use, and I add fresh cranberries. It is from The Spruce Eats:
Recipe by: miri-rotkovitz
1 large loaf challah (cut into 3/4-inch cubes, about 10 cups)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 large onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 medium bulbs fennel (thinly sliced)
2 large stalks celery (sliced)
2 medium apples (chopped into 1/2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons fresh sage (finely chopped)
1 lemon (zested)
2 cups vegetable broth
Optional: sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Oil a 9 x 13 2-inch baking dish or a similarly-sized (3 to 4-quart) casserole dish. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the challah cubes between the baking sheets. Oil a 9 x 13 2-inch baking dish or a similarly-sized (3 to 4-quart) casserole dish. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the challah cubes between the baking sheets. Drizzle the bread with a little olive oil, toss with clean hands, and spread evenly into a single layer. Bake, turning once or twice while cooking, until dry and toasted, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, but leave the oven on.
Pour the stuffing mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake for 10 to 20 minutes more, or until the top is golden, and the stuffing reaches your preferred consistency.
I recently bought a new book that has great ideas for Do It Yourself Party Ideas, Holiday Jubilee by entertainer and chef Charles Phoenix.
“The holidays are so retro!” says Phoenix, known as the ambassador of Americana. In his new book Holiday Jubilee, Charles serves up a fun and intoxicating, action-packed extravaganza of America’s favorite seasonal traditions, past, present and future. The book also includes some interesting seasonal recipes from Charles’s test kitchen. Check out the rainbow cake and kid-friendly side dishes that are tempting to look at as well as eat.
Being a showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author known for his live comedy slide-show performances, madcap test-kitchen videos, adventure tours, and colorful books, his tips for themes, family activities and decor celebrate classic and kitschy American life and style. He has appeared on such TV shows as Martha Stewart, The Queen Latifah Show and Cake Wars (a recurring judge), has been profiled in such newspapers as The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, and been a guest on such radio shows as NPR’s The Splendid Table and NPR/KPCC’s Take Two.
5780 is just beginning. Make your resolution to enjoy all of it.
Cindy Grosz is a Jewish activist who promotes projects, products and awareness to everything Israel and of international Jewish concern. She represents celebrity spokespeople who speak up for and about Israel. She is also a contributor and Co-host on The Jersey Joe Show 710AM WOR, Sunday nights at 7 EST, or available anytime, anywhere through iHeart Radio.