Monday, October 31, 2005


Ahhhhhh Cholent. YUMMY Warm filling comforting Shabbasy food. I made cholent!!!!

What is cholent??? Hmmmmm.... Kinda a combo of chili, and potato stew, and soup, and thick warm Shabbasy goodness. It's a food that was developed through the centuries so Jews could have a warm meal on Shabbat afternoon without cooking, as cooking isn't allowed on Shabbat. I tried to do a bit of research on the history of cholent but that was basically all I found out. It's a stew that's usually started on Friday afternoon, and then left covered on a low flame, or in a low oven or a crock pot overnight. Cholent usually simmers for like 8-15 HOURS or more!!!! PERFECT for a Shabbat lunch, ESPECIALLY on a cold afternoon.

Different ingredients are used in different regions of the world and when I went looking for a recipe there wasn't really a set one, I saw about a million different ones all calling for a different combo of things. So I basically just wung it, as cholent probably was meant to made that way anyway.

Basic ingredients are potatoes, yams, parsnips, carrots, barley, beans, beans, beans, garlic and onions. Most cholents have meat in them, beef or bones for flavoring, I found a recipe with lamb, but usually beef. I made a veggie cholent. And well I didn't make it on/for Shabbat, but it was yummy anyways. I was in the mood for something warm and filling with protein that was different from my usual routine. And I hadn't had cholent since I was in Binghamton, and I missed it. So cholent it was!!!

I used all of the above ingredients, except for the meat. I got a bag of "cholent mix" which had red beans white beans and speckled beans in it. But anything around should be ok, or you can look up cholent recipes here. They'll have bean types you can use. ALL of the ingredients are in different amounts depending on what you want, or for how many you're making it for.

So I soaked my beans overnight. Then I cut up 3 potatoes, one yam, 3 parsnips, 3-4 carrots. I put them in a LARGE pot with the beans and the barley. (A crock pot if you have it is GREAT for cholent) I covered it with water. I added a can of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and a TON of spices. Salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, basil, oregano, parsley, paprika, a couple of bay leaves crushed, some hot pepper, veggie stock cube (crushed into a powder), and a "beef" stock cube(also crushed) and I don't even remember what else. I sautéed 3 onions and like 4 cloves of garlic and added that to the pot. Covered with more water as needed, about 1-2 inches over the stuff, mixed it up, and put it on the stove. Brought to a boil and then I simmered covered for 10 hours on LOW heat. I stirred occasionally, but less and less and more and more carefully as time went on because I didn't want to break up the potatoes into mush.

The result? YUMMY YUMMY cholent worth of a Shabbat meal, the kind of comfort food stuff that sticks to your insides and warms you up and fills you up and makes you all happy. It was GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Answering a Question

A commenter on one of my engagement posts, I don't remember which one told me that my engagement isn't official until I have a date for the wedding. Not that I believe that, but to answer your question of when we are getting married the answer is I'm not 100% sure.

We want to get married at the end of October of next year, after sukkot is over. We want to get married on a Sunday. That leaves 2 possible dates, the 22nd and the 29th. Or it may mean going into November if there isn't any place available.

I have a preferred date (which I'm not telling as not to jinx it) but as we haven't decided on WHERE to have the wedding, we don't have confirmation of that date. We have a list of places we want to call including our synagogue, Bear Mountain Inn @ Bear Mountain State Park in NY, and some other catering places in NY and CT. But it is going to depend on what days are open. If we can get my preffered date, we will, if not, then we'll get what we can. I'm not too pickywith dates otherwise. That's something that's flexible and negotiable. There are other more important factors, such as price and capacity and kosher dairy and such things as that.

Rest assured, when I DO have a date, I will let you all know.

For those who care/understand... Have a Good Yom Tov, Chag Sameach and don't get too drunk dancing with the Torahs!!!! YAY for Simchat Torah!!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Semi Long Time No BLOG

It's been a bit of time since I've posted, but I haven't really had a ton of time, nor energy to write this past week to 2 weeks.

Rob and I went up to Vermont last last Wednesday, the morning of erev Yom Kippur. We stayed for a week and came home this past Wednesday. It was an ok vacation. Not completely horrible, but not really so great. It rained EVERY DAY we were there. So that eliminated a lot of what we wanted to do, hiking, walking, and all that outdoorsy stuff. PLUS I got sick. On Yom Kippur morning I woke up with a cold. I was congested, sore throat, fever the works. I was pretty miserable, and hungry to boot. I tried to go to shul, but about an hour and a half into it, Rob had to take me home. Which, up there, to me anyway, is a big deal because home is about a 20 or so minute drive away from shul. Which means he missed about an hour of the services. It was pretty great of him to take me home. I basically slept all day and missed shul. I still managed to fast, but I feel like I missed out on Yom Kippur, I missed on the intensity of the day, the prayer and repentance and all that. It was a weird kind of day.

So basically I was sick for most of the vacation. We managed to do little things, we went shopping for a couple of hours in Manchester on Friday, we went to shul on Shabbat, a bit of a drive on Sunday, (that was actually really nice on this little used closed in the winter road through the woods, with all the foliage etc.) (Note the foiliage in general wasn't so great, a combination of tent catipillar infestation, a too dry summer and a too wet fall made it mediocre, mostly rusty yellow and orange or brown. There ware some areas off nice trees, but not many.) We went for shul on Sukkot, spent Tuesday afternoon after shul with some friends from shul, etc etc etc. Monday I was feeling well enough to take a trip up to the Burlington area. Except we slept a lot later than we meant to and didn't get to see much of what we wanted to. We hit traffic on the way up, and we got to the VT Teddy Bear Factory, about 10 minutes after a tour through the factory started and the next one wasn't for about an hour. We didn't want to wait an hour, especially since we alrealy felt so rushed. So we wandered around the gift shopa bit and then left for Ben and Jerry's, skipping seeing downtown Burlington. We went on the factory tour which was pretty cool, and ate ice cream which ALWAYS makes me happy. But by that time it was getting late and we wanted to go and visit some friends but we realized we had to be in shul earlier than we thought originally and we didn't have time. So we just went home, a bit disappointed at our day, all that drive and we only got to do one and a half of the four things we wanted to do. We did see a REALLY cool waterfall on the way home. On VT route 100, Moss Glenn Falls. It was ROARING because of all the rain we had had. Rob took a bunch of cool pics, hopefully he'll post them up on his BLOG soon, if not I'll get them and post them here.

And that was my vacation. Little trips out of the house, but mostly sitting at home, sick, in the rain. It wasn't completely horrible, I got to play with the dogs, and I watched more tv than usual, and I read almost 2 books. Oh Yeah and I got A LOT of sleep. :) Kind of unfortunate but oh well, not horrible but not what I expected. Rob was glad he'd proposed the week before, if he had waited like he planned it wouldn't have worked out verry well. Carie???.... Sorry to wake you, I know you're sick, but will you marry me? That wouldn't have been as special, though kind of funny. :) I WAS feeling a bit betterer by Sukkot though. I'm glad because it's one of my favorite holidays. I love the Sukkaah, I love all the earthy qualities of the holiday, I love the community aspect of it, eating outside with community and friends. Pretty cool beans. :)

When I got home I was feeling mostly better, went to work Thursday, and got a flu shot. I ASKED them if it was ok, because I was just sick. They said it was fine, it wouldn't effect me etc. I wasn't going to be at work on any of the other days they were giving the shot. So I got it. And by Saturday morning I was sick again. Had to call out sick from work on Saturday. I felt SO BAD but I could barely spend time OOB I was feeling so yicky. But I was able to drag myself up yesterday and went to work and dragged myself there.

And now I'm off. For the next four days. YAY! I have 4 days off for Simchat Torah, the end of Sukkot and a ton of fun. We WERE going to VT, but it would have involved a LOT of driving for 2 days or so, and I'm not feeling my best so we decided to stay home and celebrate here. It'll be nice to go to shul here. Rob went this Shabbat without me, and everyone was so excited about our engagement and I missed it. Rob said the Rabbi wanted to sing for us but I wasn't there so he didn't because singing for one person doesn't count. :)

And that's that. That's my last however long it's been since I've last BLOGged. And this post is long enough so I'll write some funny little anecdote soon instead of boring I did this this and this.

Oh yeah, and this will get ya smiling. Well it gets ME smiling anyway... I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!! YAY!!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sparkly Sparkly

I keep looking at my left hand and I keep getting surprised at the sparkle that's there. It's SO weird! REALLY AWESOME, but SO weird all at the same time. I'm totally not used to it being there. And I'm a lefty so it keeps getting in the way so to speak. I notice it when I'm writing, or doing anything with my hands, even something as simple as putting on gloves at work or hand mixing pie crust dough. I keep forgetting it's there until it gets caught and then I'm reminded, I'M GETTING MARRIED!

Everyone has been so much fun in their reactions. My family has been awesome, happy and excited... My co workers were great. I told one, and she yelled out "SHUT UP!!!" and then proceeded to JUMP on me in the parking lot. Everyone was all exited, one was so excited for me, she hugged me like 6 times, and you could see the light in her eyes for me, like she was my surrogate mother or something. And she was all proud of herself that she remembered to say "Mazel Tov" instead of congrats. One of my patients who I've been following (I've been covering on the rehab unit for the past few weeks) keeps telling all her visitors to ask me about my news. She's so cute. She's a nurse at the hospital, has been forever, and she always has TONS of visitors. She's Jewish, and we've bonded about the holidays and engagements and Jewish traditional weddings, and she's so sweet. I've gotten hugs and mazel tovs and shana tovas from her. She's great. One of my fave patients at the moment.

I'm so in awe of the situation. I always try NOT to be the center of attention, I get all flustered and embarrassed and jsut want to blend into a corner most times. And now I'm getting all this attention as a future bride, and it'll only get more and more as the day approaches, and I'm so not used to it. I'm just so excited, not only to be the bride and all that but I'm so excited to know that I get to spend the rest of forever with Rob. The ring on my finger while just a symbol, means SO MUCH to me. It's one of the only "girly" things I've wanted in my life. (The other is the wedding gown) So to know it's there and see it, and watch it sparkle (And BOY does it sparkle) just gives me the warm fuzzies inside, and I'm filled with such happiness, sometime I feel like I'm going to explode with it. YES I know I'm being cheesy now, but I've been glowing all week, I haven't been able to stop smiling, I can't not look at my ring every minute, can't stop playing with it, just amazed that it's there.
I totally love the ring, it's so simple, just the one stone, but it's so pretty and classy and just wonderful. I love the ring itself and I love what it represents and I'm just still amazed and flabbergasted and HAPPY!!! Like I said, it keeps catching me by surprise and I get that warm fuzzy feeling again. And it's SO WEIRD to be introduced as a fiance, and to call Rob my fiance, I keep having to correct myself from saying my boyfriend. It's SO WEIRD!!!

And with that, I'll not repeat myself YET again because I don't think I'm making sense anymore. But it's all I've been thinking about all week, so that's what I'm BLOGging about.

TEE HEE!!! YAY for Sparkly Sparkly rings and Sparkly Sparkly love!!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

New Year's Reflections and Surprises

I thought a lot about this past year as Rosh Hashana approached. I thought about its joys and about its sadnesses. I thought about how I have grown and changed over this past year. When it comes down to it, it's been a long year. A lot has happened to my family and to me both. Part of me was just grateful that the year was over. Part of me though thought that while I had a hard year in many respects, it was almost a good thing because there was a lot I learned about myself and the world. I think that with all the happenings, I have grown significantly, and I am grateful for that as well.

I thought about this New Year ahead and what I wanted from it. I know I want to keep myself on this path to myself. This path of learning and growing as an adult that I have embarked on this past year. The past of self discovery which I think we all go through at various stages of our lives. This path is to learn about my adult self and where it all comes from. And how to make it better. How to make this coming new year sweet and full of joy in myself and in the world.

In thinking about all this, I thought about what I wanted for this New Year. What I wanted spiritually and what I wanted physically. I thought about my job and my career and the path it is taking. I thought about my family and all the trials and joys we have experienced. I thought about myself and Rob and the path we have taken together for the past three and a half years. I thought about myself as a person and what I need in my life to be whole and happy. Where do I want all of these things to go? How can I make them happen?

Last year I went into the High Holidays with my feet dragging. I didn't want to sit in shul so long, I didn't want to fast, I was feeling kind of empty. And at the end of Yom Kippur I had a not so great feeling about the year ahead. And every time something happened that was sad, or hard, or bad, I thought about that feeling. Almost like I knew it would happen. But then again, there were so many joys, that I was a bit confused also. This year I have and I am approaching the High Holidays with a sense of peace. I was and I am looking forward to spending them in VT with Rob's family, to be in shul, and to let out my soul to the heavens. This Rosh Hashana has been all of that and more. And I am looking forward to the rest of the Holiday season with the same joy and spirituality.

One of the things I have been thinking a lot about is Rob and I. About our relationship, about my feelings for him and his feelings for me. Where it was headed. I thought about how much I love him and about how happy he makes me. I thought about the joy and love I see in his eyes in our private happy moments. I thought how this relationship was leading towards spending the rest of our lives together with that love, in other words, towards marriage.

I thought a lot about marriage this year. Many cousins and friends have gotten married this year. I was pretty terrified of marriage for a long time. I felt I needed to grow more into myself first. To know and love myself before I jumped into the life altering thing called marriage. Because while a lot of our day to day things won't really change, marriage is a big step, a life milestone, and I wanted to be sure I was ready for it. As the New Year approached, I thought a lot about marriage and I found I was starting to feel a lot more ready. I found that the more I though about stepping into that milestone with Rob, the more I liked it. PLUS I knew he was getting ready for the same thing. Little hints about diamond research, taking with my mom, talking with his mom in conversations that ended when I got out of the shower, or when I got home. Random converations about our relationship and where it may be headed for the future. I was expecting it, but I was expecting it AFTER Yom Kippur. We're spending Yom Kippur through Sukkot in VT, and I thought it would happen in that week, hiking, or somewhere here we were doing things together during the rest of that week.

Well, Rob had other plans. He wanted to catch me off guard and surprise me. He knew I was expecting it AFTER Yom Kippur. So he did it before. This past Monday morning before Rosh Hashana, we went apple picking in VT. It was a beautiful day; warm, sunny blue skys, and the moment was very "us" outdoors, in VT, spending time with nature and each other. We had been picking for awhile, and I bent down to put an armful of apples in the bag. And there among the apples was a little black box.

A MILLION things ran through my head in that second when I saw the box. I couldn't believe he was doing it now, I was totally unprepared, I couldn't believe this moment had come, that it was happening and he was proposing. My response to the box was "What's that??" His response, "A funny looking apple we've got there" I don't remember the specific details about the next 10 minutes or so because I was so flabbergasted and amazed and surprised and happy. He picked up the box and opened it, and said something to the effect of "Will you give me the honor of being your husband?!?" I couldn't speak, I just kinda nodded, and we fumbled to put the ring on (it was too small PLUS my hands were swollen) There was a lot of hugging and I was almost crying and laughing at the same time. After a bit he asked "So is that a yes?" I had been so flabbergasted and dumbstruck I never said yes. YES, YES!!! OF COURSE it's a YES!!!!!

And then I didn't want to pick apples anymore. I wanted to look at the big sparkly diamond on my left hand, (for those of you who care, it's a solitaire circular cut stone with a 6 prong white gold setting)(I'll post a picture when I get one) and I was so amazed and excited and who could pick apples??? So we quickly finished filling our bag and went and bought some cider and went home so I could call the world and tell it my news.

I was SO glad that he did it when he did it, the moment was SO him and me, outdoors, in VT, just enjoying the weather and nature and each others company, and he was able to surprise me so well, and make me so happy, and it was just perfect. I think if he had waited I would have been expecting it and it wouldn't have been as special. But this way it was extremely special and I am extremely happy.

All during the holiday I was beaming. Members of the shul were great and fun and full of Mazel Tovs a million times over. I got a million messages from my family all happy and tearful and laughing and excited. It just made the whole of Rosh Hashana even more sweet to know that with the New Year, there was new happiness and joy and a new step in life.

So YAY for Rosh Hashana, and sweet new beginnings and L'Shana Tova to everyone once again.

YAY!!! I'M SO HAPPY!!!!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

L'Shana Tova

We're leaving this evening for VT and I'm working all day, and I won't be able to BLOG monday and then it's Rosh Hashana....... I won't have a chance to BLOG this laterer, so I'll say it now.

I wanted to say to y'all out there in the internet universe; L'Shana Tova. Have a Happy and Blessed New Year. May all your wishes and dreams and prayers bea nswered in this time of reflection, joy, and prayer.

I also wanted to ask, in the spirit of this time, if there is anything I may have done, knowingly or unknowingly, to offend or hurt any of you out there, please forgive me. I am truly sorry, and I hope that we can start anew and clean and fresh for this New Year.

I DO have more to say on my reflections of this past year and my hopes for next but right now all I can say is L'Shana Tova, Have a Sweet New Year.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cool Beans!

Quite Literally! Today is World Vegetarian Day!!!

YAY! WHOOO HOOOOO for being a vegetarian!

So everyone go and celebrate and eat your VEGETABLES and TOFU, and of course the COOL BEANS!!! (Gotta get the protein!)

Have a Great Day!