Spontaneous Shabbat Lunch

M and I originally thought that last Shabbat would be a quiet family Shabbat, just the five of us at both meals (we never really get around to seuda shlishit, so why pretend). M wasn't feeling well Shabbat morning, so I took the kids to the park myself in the morning (grumbling on the way that I was once again stuck with the kids myself). I ran into my friend T in the park (waving hello if your're reading!), who has a matching set of kids to mine- 2 girls and a boy. Her kids are so matching that the older girls are in school together and the younger are in the same gan.

I had invited her for lunch at the beginning of the week but she said her husband was going to be in miluim and she would be by family. At the park, she said she wanted to call on Thursday to try to revive the invite, but didn't. I said what a shame and somehow we got the idea to have a food pool lunch at at my house. We were into the idea and we knew the kids would love it, but somehow our husbands weren't exactly chomping at the bit to have such a spontaneous social activity. Although they weren't thrilled by the idea originally, in the end everyone had a really nice time and the whole thing really cheered me up and left me with a great feeling (I have friends and they like me so much they would come to my house for lunch on the spot!)

Usually, when I make Shabbat food I cook for at least 6-8 people even though we're only 2 adults and 2 kids who eat real food. This Shabbat, I really pared down and only made 3 chicken quarters (baked with quince, carrots, cinnamon and cumin that I adapted from a recipe in Gil Marks 'World of Jewish Cooking'.) My friend brought a drink, a chicken salad and chummus. I had brown rice and roasted cauliflower and tomato but what really made the lunch was a leftover shoulder roast I had from the night before. I sliced it into strips and made an Asian steak salad. With guacamole and cold cuts, it was quite a feast for such short notice.

Last Minute Asian Meat Salad

1 head/bag Red/Green/Baby leaf lettuce, washed and dried
1 cucumber, julienned or cut into large dice
1 red pepper, julienned or also large dice
5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
500 grams beef shoulder, sliced into strips

Dressing: (er, rough estimate because I stopped measuring my dressings a long time ago)

3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp honey
1 tsp whole grain mustard

Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl, laying the meat on top. Mix dressing ingredients in a small jar or large teacup. Dress right before serving. Garnish ideas: Crushed roasted cashews or peanuts. 

Shiny the Jewish Giraffe

This post incredibly adorable and I think the mom did a good job handling her 3 year old's spiritual crisis:

Collecting the Moments One by One

I can't even use the excuse that I haven't been near a computer, because I work on the internetz!

A recap from the last week or two:

Just to chime in with other Israeli parent-teacher conference goers, I too, received a sparkling first report for my first first grader. What a nice feeling, especially since I feel that I put in just as much work as my daughter! First grade is really tough these days. Much tougher than mine. (I seem to only remember painting the windows, reading groups with Mrs. McGivern and being forced into Second Grade Hebrew because I learned the aleph-bet in Chabad kindergarten).  A. seems to have an infinite number of notebooks, workbooks and folders to keep track of. Not to mention schools supplies that never stay in her kalmar. (I now seem to make a weekly trip to Office Depot to resupply her bottomless pencil case). But, despite all of these obstacles, she sailed through like the princess she is, smiling, courteous, davening with kavana and learning to read, write, add and subtract all in 3 months!

My 18 month old son, E, took his first steps this week. I knew he would because he managed to walk with a baby doll stroller on Shabbat, exactly the way A did 5 years ago. (The Shabbat she did that, she walked that week). Now, the night he took a few steps, I was very excited and of course told my husband. When he took him to gan the next morning, though, he forgot to tell the gannenet. When she saw him walk, she called me so excited and said "הוא הולך לבד! " When I heard that, my first thought was that he walked out of her yard alone!! But then I quickly realized that she was just excited that he's walking unaided. Whew!

Poor T is stuck in the middle. Our relationship is going through a rough patch. She announced this morning that she doesn't like me, because I made her wear a sweatshirt she didn't like. She has a very particular taste in clothes, that I try to accommodate, but most mornings I'm just not in the mood for a reenactment of What Not to Wear. I know I should pick my battles, but I'm not always good at that. Of course, 15 minutes after she proclaimed her dislike for me, she begged me not to leave her gan immediately after drop off. I can't win...

Hubby is in Germany for 48 hours, as per usual. Just me, my computer and Elite 92 calorie chocolate bars, which are surprisingly satisfying, even though I only ate one!
Here is a really darling music video I found: 

The song is from the soundtrack to the movie (500) Days of Summer. We saw the movie a few weeks ago and I thought it was ok, but I loved the music. Straight from my high school days, the Smiths, the Pixies, etc. I just love how creative and whimsical this video is. I'm not really into music or videos anymore (especially since I lost my entire cd collection on one of my flights back to Israel in 2000) but this one reminds me of why I used to be into it.

[Post title is a paraphrase from the song]