Post-Partum….

December 1st, 2013

“This is your seventh baby? This one is going to just pop right out, you will see…”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that over the past few months.

My youngest is 5 1/2 – which means it has been a while since I have been pregnant. I was younger, fitter, and while I had my hands much more full with a house full of little ones, I also had more energy.

This pregnancy was harder. Much harder…… but it was nothing compared to the labor/delivery.

None of my other deliveries were easy, but they were pretty straightforward. I have shared with just about any woman who will listen that I proudly delivered twins without an epidural or surgery at 40 weeks – and 6.5 and 8 pounds.

This labor was more than a day, on no sleep, with a “failure to progress”. I was spared a c-section, but at the price of tremendous amounts of strain on my body, the likes of which I have just never experienced.

… I don’t know if it is my age, the hormones, the difficult labor, the very full house or a grand combination of them all, but this time post-partum hit me BIG TIME.

I found myself just crying for what seemed like no good reason. I felt overwhelmed, and mostly I resented every single person that tried to check in with me, asked me what I was doing, expected me to be chipper, friendly, happy, open or affectionate. Including  my own children.

“Can’t they see I am trying to recover?”

“What is wrong with them? Why are they calling me? ”

“How can they possibly ask me for a hug.”

“Just stopped by? Seriously?”

More than anything else, my moodiness, touchiness and lack of ability to be a charming friend and hostess to others seemed to be met with consternation at best, horror at worst, rather than compassion. 

I am in week two now, and what an amazing difference a week makes! My milk is flowing, my child is occasionally sleeping for a whole couple of hours not in someone’s arms. I am no longer taking pain medication round the clock, feeling achy and weak the minute it starts to wear off. I can put on my own shoes. There is a rush of relief that the Shalom Zachor and the Brit are both over. The trauma of the birth doesn’t come to me in flashes like it did last week. Neither do the unexplained bouts of tears. I am able to smile when someone walks in the door, and you might, just might occasionally find me answering the telephone.

The help, advice and meals I have received have been just amazing.I think that religious Jews who have a community that takes turns at lifecycle events  being there for each other, are the luckiest people on earth. And I count myself as one of the most blessed because I live in Neve Daniel.  The love and support expressed from around the world has been so touching, so wonderful.

The most positive experience has been the communal celebration of this birth by our neighborhood, family and friends.

Why write such a negative post during this weekend of thanks??? Why bother writing this? Because I think that when we are truly happy for people we want to connect to them. To reach out and let them know. I also think that 9 times out of 10 a new mother, at least for that first week, needs exactly the opposite. Sometimes love means giving someone space.

I have always dropped off donated dinners to new moms with a note and a delivery person, and I have never thought to make a visit or a phone call in the first week. But I also doubt I have ever been sensitive enough to avoiding asking “how are you” for a week, or assuming that maybe a hug for the new mom is not in order at a bris. I never knew that difficult sleeping when your baby sleeps is a primary symptom of post-partum baby blues, but I have always known that lack of sleep makes everything else harder.

I have had many friends who suffered from post-partum depression, but I didn’t see  it – that is part of what I am describing, which is a desire to shut everyone out during such a dark time. I heard about it after the fact. Until now, I never understood why it was traumatic enough to cause some of them to think twice before having another child.

I haven’t enjoyed the experience, but I do hope it is going to make me a better friend, relative, neighbor and eventually mother to new moms. That I will have a newfound appreciation for that space.

If you ever give birth and I seem aloof during your first week, please don’t be offended, I will just be giving you your space, whether you need it or not. My guess is that if you are a brand new mom, you will be FAR too busy to notice, no matter how you are feeling.

yehudanoam

 

One last note: our beautiful new baby’s name is Yehuda Chaim, and I will post our thoughts and words on the baby and his name just as soon as this little newborn will grant me the time. In the meantime, wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and Chanukah!!! 

 

Passover Granola

March 19th, 2013

I am posting this again, because it is still my favorite and I have been receiving requests. More Pesach posting to come!

This is my favorite Pesach recipe. I got it from “Stove Tops Personal Chef Service” several years ago when speaking about Pesach at a local Hadassah meeting.

I have talked about the Pesach granola so much that everyone is tired of hearing about it. But it is easy to make, yummy to eat and with yogurt is a million times better than pesach cereal for breakfast.

You can substitute or omit most of the ingredients. I recommend mixing it right in the pan you bake it in. My hope is I am giving you enough time to buy the ingredients.

If you make it, PLEASE post a comment.

Ingredients:
4 c. matzo farfal, or broken up pieces of matzo
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. dried raisins/cranberries
1 1/2 c. sweetened, shredded coconut
2 tsps cinnamon
2/3 c. veg. oil
1 c. honey
2 tsps Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toss the matzo, almonds, fruit, coconut and cinnamon together in a large bowl ( I do it in an aluminum pan I am baking in). Pour the oil and honey over the mixture. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly coated. Add the Kosher salt and toss.

Spray pan with non-stick spray ( usually don’t do this step.) Pour mixture onto the sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Remove the granola and cool on the sheet pan. Stir occasionally as it cools. Store the granola in an airtight container.

Variations: you can add chocolate chips when cool, add more dried fruit, change or add more nuts.

 

Seven Stones

Living in Israel and not owning a television means that on a good day I can shield my kids from most of what passes for “news” today.

**********

My kids didn’t want to go to school because for them every day at school is like going back into battle. Four months in a new country, they are dealing with bullies, lack of understanding the language and the material, being too far ahead in certain subjects and too far behind in others. All of the toilet paper in the bathrooms being used up by the end of 4th period. Teachers who care, they do, but have 25 other kids to worry about, instead of ten. Even the kids who are nice to them most often are still not “friends”. And the noise; Israeli buildings, including schools, echo more than American ones, and when the student population of their grade outnumbers the entire  student body of their school (preschool-8th), it is just so noisy.

So they go off to battle every day, and some days are better than others, but it is still wearying, and still requires bravery.  Now I understand why our young soldiers get such short periods of time to go home! Ten days of sleeping in, hugs and food from Ima, choosing the company you keep and quiet when you want it? Well, of course it is hard to give that up.

They didn’t want to be brave this morning. So they carried on, crying and yelling and threatening and being altogether unpleasant. After all, I moved them here, so ultimately it is my fault.

A part of me really wanted to give them some perspective. “Look at what just happened. Don’t you know what you have? What you are? Alive, that’s what! You are here, breathing and safe, and be grateful and go to school! But give me another hug first. “

I didn’t do that. The last thing in the world they needed was for me to add to their long list of fears. It wouldn’t have given them perspective, or taught gratitude. It would have reminded them that they are right that school requires bravery – of all unimaginable types, bravery that it just shouldn’t require.

But it gives me perspective. I can’t  imagine how many parents didn’t want to send their kids to school today, or how many little children across America didn’t want to go to. Children who also cried and carried on… and unfortunately not simply because they have had a week and a half of sleep, warm food, vacation and quiet.

 

My condolences to the families and community of Newtown, CT.  I hope that there is some source of comfort and healing there for all of  you. 

Please visit next week as I host the Haveil Havalim Blog Carnival (and “celebrate” turning 40!).

This week I want to leave you with my FAVORITE Pesach recipe… so you can join me in hording the ingredients that run out at the store.

As much as Purim is not my favorite time of year... Pesach is. I love freshening up the house, the arrival of spring, the intensity and seder (order) of the holiday.

When I start to think about Pesach, I start to think about granola. Pesach granola. I love to make it, I love to serve it, and I especially love to eat it.

My recipe is based on the one from “Stove Tops Personal Chef Service” in NJ.  Several years ago I was asked to speak about Pesach at a local Hadassah meeting, and this was the gem I walked away with.

It is easy to make, yummy to eat and with yogurt is a million times better than pesach cereal for breakfast.

You can substitute or omit  ingredients. I recommend mixing it right in the pan you bake it in. My hope is I am giving you enough time to buy the ingredients.

PESACH GRANOLA

Ingredients:
4 c. matzo farfal, or broken up pieces of matzo
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. dried raisins/cranberries
1 1/2 c. sweetened, shredded coconut (the stores run out of this one.) 
2 tsps cinnamon
2/3 c. veg. oil
1 c. honey
2 tsps Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the matzo, almonds, fruit, coconut and cinnamon together in a large bowl ( I do it in an aluminum pan I am baking in). Pour the oil and honey over the mixture. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly coated. Add the Kosher salt and toss.

Spray pan with non-stick spray ( usually don’t do this step.) Pour mixture onto the sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Remove the granola and cool on the sheet pan. Stir occasionally as it cools. Store the granola in an airtight container.

Variations: you can add chocolate chips when cool, add more dried fruit, change or add more nuts. 

I try to make a variety of batches, but we always run out. I don’t like Pesach cakes, candies or cookies, so this becomes my treat for the week.

If you make it, PLEASE post a comment. Happy Pesach prepping! 

This year, I have been making Challah Hamentaschen rolls instead of cookies. I just end up with more hamentaschen than I want to look at, and decided I had to do something different. Since I had been working with bread dough for hamentaschen anyway, I decided to try something similar on pizza night, and it was really easy and fun… it would make a great kids’ option for a dairy seudah.

The secret to the success is the dough. I have a great pizza dough recipe, adapted from one on the web many years ago. This is a great dough to use for hamentaschen, but it is also a fast and easy dinner solution throughout the year. (Not that you ever need that…)

 

 

Pizza dough – for a family of 9 I double this: 

Take 2 cups of warm water, and combine with

4 tablespoons of sugar (or honey) and 

4 tablespoons of yeast

let sit… perhaps near your oven preheating to 425 degrees…. 

Combine in another bowl

3 1/2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 cup of oil

(at this point, if you want to get fancy, you can add some yummy herbs into your dry mixture too. )

If you are like me, by the time the kids have helped with the dry ingredients and the phone has rung once or twice, it has been about 10 minutes for the yeast to rise. But you can let it sit or not, depends on your taste and preference – and how “last minute” the last minute dinner solution is.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and knead until a wonderful pizza dough consistency. [ If you choose to use whole wheat flour, you may have to add some more warm water. ]

You can shape into pizzas or hamentaschen right away. Spray your baking pan with lightly before putting on the pizza dough.

If you are making hamentaschen, make sure the dough circles are very spread out and relatively thin. Since you are folding them up and the dough rises, it ends up being a lot of dough. Add a dollop of sauce and some shredded cheese and whatever toppings gladden your Adar and bake at 425 for about 15 minutes! Enjoy!

If you make them, I would love it if you let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 I am reprinting an older post taken from an article by a friend (and multitalented genius) Dr. Michael Segal. This is reprinted in several places, but you can visit his website at: http://segal.org/kippur/. The advice is equally helpful for Tisha B’Av….

Fasting [for Yom Kippur] (From a Medical Perspective)

Michael M. Segal MD PhD

Don’t get thirsty:

Most people think the difficulty about fasting is feeling “hungry”.  However, avoiding thirst is much more important for how you feel.  Not only do you avoid the discomfort of thirst but you are also well hydrated and swallow frequently, so your stomach does not feel as empty.

One important way to remain well hydrated is to avoid drinks or foods that cause your body to get rid of water.   Such foods and drinks include alcohol, tea, caffeinated coffee and chocolate.   Another important rule is to avoid consuming much salt.   Salt causes a person to feel thirsty despite having a “normal” amount of water, because extra water is needed for the extra salt.   For this reason you should avoid processed foods containing lots of salt such as pickles, cold cuts, or cheese.  Most tomato sauces, canned fish and smoked fish have a lot of added salt.   Since Kosher meat has a high salt content it may be best to choose a main course such as fresh fish, canned no-salt tuna fish or a de-salted meat such as boiled chicken.

By avoiding these types of foods and drinks in the several hours before a fast, you can avoid either losing water or needing extra water.   Other actions that cause the body to lose water, such as perspiring in warm clothing, should also be avoided during the fast.

Don’t start the pre-fast meal on a full stomach:

The pre-fast meal often begins at 5 PM, so a large lunch could prevent you from eating enough immediately before the fast. It is best to have a small lunch, or no lunch at all.   A large breakfast early in the day based on cereals, breads and fruits can provide the energy you need during the day, yet these high-fiber foods will be far downstream by the time of the pre-fast meal and will not keep you from eating enough food at the pre-fast meal.   A large breakfast is also helpful because it stretches the stomach.   After eating breakfast, it is best to consume beverages during the day.   This will not fill you up, since liquids are absorbed quickly, and this will ensure that you have absorbed enough fluids during the day to start the pre-fast meal being well hydrated.   Be sure to avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine.   You should also drink at least two glasses of fluids with the pre-fast meal because many foods need extra water to be digested properly.

Eat foods that are digested slowly:

Include some foods high in oils and fats in the pre-fast meal, since such foods delay emptying of the stomach and effectively prolong your meal.   However, beware of fatty meats or salted potato chips that could load you up with too much salt.   Salads and other high fiber foods that are so important in one’s normal diet should be de-emphasized for the pre-fast meal since they travel quickly through the digestive system.   Fruit, despite its high fiber content, is worthwhile since it carries a lot of water in a “time-release” form.

Don’t get a headache:

Withdrawing from caffeine produces a headache in people who drink several cups of coffee a day.   If you consume this much caffeine in coffee or other foods or drinks you should prepare yourself for the caffeine-free period by reducing or eliminating caffeine from your diet in the days before Yom Kippur.   Don’t try to get through the fast by drinking coffee right before Kol Nidre, since this will cause you to lose a lot of water.

Make the meal tasty enough so people will eat:

The pre-fast meal doesn’t have be bland.   Spices such as lemon or herbs are fine for fasting, but salt and monosodium glutamate should be reduced as much as possible.

Don’t do a complete fast if you have certain medical problems:

People with medical conditions such as diabetes should consult their doctors and rabbis before fasting.   Certain medications need to be taken during Yom Kippur, and it is important to swallow them with enough water to avoid pills getting stuck on the way to the stomach and damaging the esophagus.   Fasting by women who are pregnant or breast feeding can also be dangerous.  If a young person who has not fasted much before has unusual difficulty fasting you should discuss this with your doctor since this happens in some serious metabolic problems in which fasting can be very dangerous.

Don’t eat improperly after the fast:

Even people who have prepared well for fasting will be hungry afterwards.   Be sure not to eat food too quickly at the post-fast meal. Begin the break-fast meal with several glasses of milk or juice: these put sugar into the bloodstream and occupy space in the stomach, discouraging you from eating too rapidly.   Also be careful about eating high salt foods such as lox, since you will still be a little dehydrated and will need to drink a lot of fluids to avoid waking up extremely thirsty in the early morning hours.

An earlier version of this article appeared in the Jewish Advocate (Boston, USA) in 1989.  Copyright © 1989 – 2010 Michael M. Segal, MD, PhD.  This document may be reproduced freely on a non-profit basis, including electronically, through 2010 as long as the source at www.segal.org/kippur/ is indicated and this copyright notice is included.

May it be a meaningful fast that brings about the redemption. 


 

 

 

We are trying something new this year. We are away for an entire month. Every year we spend some time up near my parents’ house by the beach. When my  children were younger we came for a week, then ten days. Last year it was over two weeks.

As anyone with a large family will tell you, once you are packing for two weeks, another two makes very little difference. We are fortunate that my parents generously rented us a house. There is just no way we would have been able to spend the month living with my parents.  I want them to still love my children – and me – by the end of the month!

I am looking forward to getting settled and being able to stay that way, even if for a little while. Having said that, family vacation doesn’t generally feel like much of a vacation for me.

I have also upped the ante by deciding that this is the time and place for potty training! (That’s a  post for another time.)  This year I am adding to the challenges of being with my relatives, hosting other guests, trying to give the kids routine, limitations in kosher food and the sand, sand, sand. I also have to continue to work from home while away.

Still, with all of this going on, the biggest challenge for me while away is not finding time to myself.  Who is used to that anyway? So far I have logged one hour of blissful reading ALONE in the sun, and a whole fifteen minutes on the beach walking with my husband while the children circled and hovered.

What is harder is finding my relationship with Hashem here. The beach in New England is relaxing and beautiful, clean and charming, with p0lite tourists and locals. But there isn’t a Jewish community, people to enjoy Shabbat with, etc.  Our second day here my husband and two sons walked 4.5 miles each way to to a Chabad minyan without carrying even a water bottle. While my husband may want to try it again, the twins won’t, and I am not so keen on spending Shabbat until 3:30 with six kids by myself.

Finding G-d in the gloriousness of the ocean views isn’t too hard in a spiritual sense, but carving out time for rituals, davening and Torah is a bigger challenge here. Dressing the way I do sticks out A LOT. I have already had to answer “kippah questions”. Maybe this year, the first with no babies in the family, I may just find the right religious balance.

As for beach adventures so far, I missed the giant spider crab with her babies yesterday that my kids found, so I have no good photo of it for you. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

 

 

 

Post-Pesach Wrap-up

April 28th, 2011

I remember last year at the end of Pesach A Mother in Israel asking on Facebook about the amount of leftovers in our fridges. I remember this  because I can’t forget feeling horrified by own my answer.  This year I had a lot of successes, including a lot less food leftover. I am not patting myself on the back, or at least not trying to. I am FINALLY getting up a Pesach learning curve, learning from my twelve-years-married mistakes.  The learning began by emailing myself notes at the end of the holiday the last couple of years. One of the first things I learned (the hard way) is that by next Pesach I won’t remember all of the things that at the end of this one I am sure I will.

I invited fewer people for Seders this year. I really didn’t want to, but my kids are at this particular stage where they needed the seders to be about them and their (long and many) questions and divrei Torah as much as possible.  (Amusingly predictable, they complained at one point at the lack of company.)  This allowed me to have the energy to invite more people for Shabbat and the final days, and to end Pesach less ‘burnt out’ than in years past.

I didn’t try a lot of new recipes. I didn’t make a lot of courses. I made lots, and lots (and lots) of mashed potatoes. I barely ate them. The kids were happy, no one complained about the repetition, and I wasn’t stuck with the remains of a fancy dish they didn’t like.

I didn’t buy mixes, pre-made food, or a lot of “substitute” stuff. We lived without Pesach mayo, mustard, pasta and cereal for one whole week, believe it or not.

I did try one thing new: I made delicious stuffed mushrooms with sauteed onions and celery, mushroom tips, spinach, pine nuts and matzo meal. I will wait until next Pesach to post the full recipe, but I will definitely be making these again. I didn’t even try to get my kids to enjoy them. We just gobbled them all up on our own.

I pushed myself to teach a shiur close to Pesach on “Coming to the Seder Elevated and not Exhausted.” I felt really stupidly ambitious for choosing such a topic – after the fact. As with every shiur I give, I learn more than anyone from it, and it pushed me to try and live up to that ideal a lot more this year. It also forced me to learn as much Torah beforehand on the topic as I could to prepare! This helped me plan ahead and strategize.  Not menu plan or strategize my shopping lists, but to think about the ways I wanted to maintain Shalom Bayit in the extremely stressful lead up to the holiday.

Rebbetzin Heller‘s practical tips through shiurim at Naaleh.com were a big help in this respect. I hope you check out her classes, especially if you are currently raising kids. After listening to her advice, I tried something new a couple of weeks before Pesach, and had each child make their own list of all of the responsibilities they felt they could commit to in preparation. This included a number of “Yechiel hours”, referring to the time the would put in watching my youngest. I explained (as R. Heller advised) that if everyone completed their own devised lists, they would get a family reward at the end.  Which they did. The family reward actually bought me a lot of prep time during chol hamoed as the novelty of it kept them busy.*  But the most effective aspect was their own recognition of their abilities and my ability to remind them that when I recruited them to help I was merely asking for something that was “on their list”.

It’s important to get it right at Pesach. Of course in order to fulfill the mitzvot of the holiday, but also because Pesach is the beginning of our journey to redemption, not its completion. Since I am once again pushing myself to teach, I am cognizant of our entrance immediately into the Omer and our need to keep climbing upward.

It feels a little like a treadmill, spiritually and physically (with a lot of laundry and dish washing and sweeping and lugging garbage….) .  I am NOT looking forward to cooking tomorrow!

But I left this Pesach feeling much better in years past. Less in this case is more, and that less has given me much more stamina for the rest of the climb.

I want to apologize first for not posting this in time for it to be relevant in Israel. I seem to be customarily behind in everything again this year.

I am preparing for Shabbos and cleaning for Pesach at the same time, which is actually convenient and productive. But it leads me to try and find a balance between getting ready for Pesach while still really making Shabbos Kodesh

We spend weeks focused on the preparation for Pesach, whether it is shopping, cleaning or simply swapping recipes. At the same time, we need to remember that Shabbat is here and it has its own holy essence that we cannot skip (pass?) over because we are so focused on what lies ahead.

As Rabbi Tatz writes in “Living Inspired“: “There are many ideas in Shabbos, but perhaps the most basic is that it represents an end-point, the tachlis of a process. The week is a period of working, building; Shabbos is the cessation of that building, which brings home the significance and sense of achievement that building has generated. It is not simply rest, inactivity. It is the celebration of the work which has been completed. Whenever the Torah mentions Shabbos it first mentions six days of work – the idea is that Shabboss occurs only after,because of, the work.”

Shabbat is not just a rest stop in the many-step process of Pesach preparation. It is an end in and of itself to the intense work most of us have been doing this week.

I hope that you can try and be in the moment this Shabbat and celebrate its own holiness and essence. I hope you can impart that to your kids. I hope you can feel even just a little sadness as Shabbat departs Saturday night, and not just relief that you can  get back to what needs to be done before Monday night. I am mostly hoping this for myself, as I know it is going to be a challenge.

My plan is to light the candles and do my best to shut the “to do” list out of my brain completely. While I know we can use the time to learn about and discuss Pesach, I plan to davka spend time with the children on this week’s parsha and on Shabbos itself.

I am not saying we need to divorce ourselves from the time of year. We don’t call this Shabbat HaGadol for nothing.  Interestingly, there are a lot of different opinions as to why it has this name. I am pretty sure it isn’t because of the “gadol” menu and elaborate set -up this particular Shabbat!

The Shibolei Haleket writes about the custom for a lengthy sermon to the kahal this week: “The customary lengthy Shabbat HaGadol speech makes the Shabbat feel long, drawn out, and ‘gadol’.”  Do we want it to feel drawn out to force ourselves to stay in the moment, or does it feel drawn out because we want to get to Pesach?

And if we need to feel that anxiousness, then let it be for our redemption from exile and slavery and NOT anxiousness to get on with the cooking and cleaning!

May you have a focused and meaningful Shabbat Shalom…..

Whatchagot Soup

December 29th, 2010

Robert Urich and Avery Brooks in "Spenser for Hire"

Robert Parker used to write a detective series about Spenser, a private investigator. (The series was turned into a TV show in the80′s.)  Spencer was a real tough guy, but he also loved to cook. His specialty was taking the random ingredients in his fridge and turning them into something impressive and delicious. When I read the books all those  many years ago I dreamed of being that kind of cook.

A week and a half ago I got a whopper of a cold. It took me a long time to feel better, and it reached a point where all I wanted to eat for days was soup. 

I used to love making interesting soups. I cooked them for me and my husband all the time before I had all of these kids. They only like chicken soup. So lame.

Soups are the best if you aspire to cook like Spencer, using up what you have in the house. During my spate of illness, I did come up with one soup that was really good. Even with my smell and therefore taste compromised, it was good and my husband agrees.

A couple of years ago I started taking the stems of broccoli and trimming, cleaning and freezing them. I then use them in soups, saving the money, the food and the nutrients. Sometimes I have to shave the trunk a little if it is particularly thick, but they can be used to make a delicious cream of broccoli soup if you save up enough of them.

In this case, I used them in my most recent successful “watchagot” soup:

One large onion

4 broccoli stems, defrosted in the microwave, and chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

minced garlic

a handful of sweet mini peppers that had to get used up, seeded and chopped

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp. marjoram

1 tsp. sage

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onions in a tiny amount of olive oil, as they approach clear, add the minced garlic, and the celery. Heat on med. until soft. Add the can of tomatoes, fill the can with water and add. Add the seasoning. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a while – until you finish your phone call, change that diaper, answer those two urgent emails, or whatever.

Use a hand blender, mixing everything well until you get desired consistency. Simmer for a while longer; a half hour or until you just can’t wait anymore, and then enjoy.

If you don’t have a hand blender, you should get one. If you need enough recipes to justify the purchase, email me  and I will load you up. I couldn’t live without mine; I have two, a dairy and a meat one.

If you have any great “whatchagot” recipes, please post them!