DIY Kiddush: Black Bean Salad

This is from our friend Sandra, a chef par excellence.  We loved it so much, we almost didn’t want to share it!


Black bean salad

(Endless variations of…):

1 can drained and rinsed black beans

1 can drained and rinsed chick peas

1/2 bag frozen corn

1 red pepper cut into small pieces

3 scallions cut into small pieces ( some of the green part also)

1/3 bunch flat Italian parsley or cilantro

Olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper to taste

Put vegetables in bowl. Whisk oil, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste together and pour over vegetables.



DIY Kiddush: Cabbage Salad

I  had a lot of help with our kiddush. Not only did people help me set up and clean up, they also helped with the cooking. My friend Daila suggested posting everyone’s recipes for everyone to enjoy. This is her cabbage salad recipe. Thank you Daila!
Cabbage Salad 


1 bag shredded cabbage

4 chopped scallions

4 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup craisins

Ramen noodles (I put in chow mein noodles)




1/2 cup oil

1/2 tsp black pepper

3 tablespoons white or cider vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tsp salt


Mix and pour over salad a little bit before serving.

I made it without the chow main noodles.

DIY Kiddush: Cleaning Up

My husband and I joke that there are two kinds of people in this world —  cookers or cleaners.  My husband is a cleaner and I am obviously a cooker.  

In general, I find cleaning up to be an unpleasant chore.

Given my challenges in this area, we hired 2 wait staff to assist with refilling the food as needed, cleaning up and putting all the food away.

This was the best decision we made and they were worth every penny!

The two women were very experienced with doing kiddushes within the community and totally knew what to do without my even telling them.

They replenished the food as needed, washed all the dishes and put all the leftovers away.

Having them allowed me to enjoy myself at the event too.

I  was also spared staying up late to clean to then wake up early to go to work the next day.

Without hired help, unless you are a whirling dervish, it is hard to clean up alone. 

I suggest reframing the task: this can be a great bonding experience with friends and family.  A few energetic teenagers are also of immeasurable assistance.

Sometimes you never know how great your friends are.  Without my even knowing it, some of my friends even planned their afternoons to set aside time to help clean up. Fortunately, we didn’t need it. 

Two hours later, you would never have known we had 200 people walking through our house.


This is one of Yaffa’s favorite dishes. It is easy to chew and packs well for school.


2 lbs. ground meat

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs — but I use oatmeal 

1 teaspoon onion powder, 

1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt (approximately)

2 tablespoons of ketchup (approximately)


Blend all ingredients together and put in loaf pan. Then, cut grooves with a knife and put ketchup on top and smooth over top of meat loaf.

Bake at 350*F oven until done and juices run clean.

Please note: I am sorry but I don’t know the exact measurements for the spices. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 tablespoons of onion soup mix, which I don’t use since it is full of chemicals and not Feingold diet friendly.

Here it is not mixed up:


Here it is raw. My plan is to prepare it now and cook it in the morning. Shabbat is coming.




Turkey Roll

This is something that I make usually for the holidays. But, my husband must now restrict his red meat consumption, so this week we have having turkey instead of meat for Shabbat.


1 4 lbs turkey roll

1/4 cup vinegar 

Salt, pepper and meat spice rub, fresh parsley (or oregano)

3 stalks of celery, sliced

3 carrots sliced 

2 large onions sliced

1 cup broth or water 


Marinate turkey in vinegar and spices. Add vegetables and broth or water and cook in 350*F oven for about 2-2 1/2 hours.

This recipe can be also made in a crockpot, pressure cooker or on top of the stove.

This morning I made it in the pressure cooker, 20 minutes to pressure. I definitely needed to adjust the seasoning but I added fresh garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and I think some chicken spice mix.

Here are the before and after pictures:


Mom’s Kidney Beans 

my mother has this really simple and easy bean recipe that is very versatile and always comes out great!


1 lbs. kidney beans 

Water to cover

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 T salt

Pepper, garlic powder, paprika and Mom’s spice mix to taste.


I soaked the beans overnight in the crockpot.

This morning I drained the water and added fresh water to cover and the spices.

This is what it looked like, as per usual on the wrong angle.

This recipe can be parve/vegan or instead of using water, you can use chicken soup or broth. It is not necessary to use dried beans. Canned beans also work, and pressure cooking also works. I call this a fast and easy no fail recipe!

So, I came home and the beans were done. I only added chicken spice mix to taste and it passed the family approval ratings.

Here is the picture:


NB: I spoke with my mother this morning and she did not remember this recipe. She said that now she sautés the garlic and beans with cumin and then cooks them in the pressure cooker. My mother is an awesome cook, so if you have the time, try it!

DIY Kiddush: Invitations 

Writing up and sending the invitations was actually one of the easiest parts of planning this kiddush.

The content of the invitation was a joint effort between me and my husband.

My husband happens to be a really excellent writer and an extremely literate person. So I wrote the first draft and he edited it.

We sent out an email invitation through evite.

It is free, and it tracks the number of responses and attendees. It is also fun because depending on the privacy settings, people can post comments and see who else is also coming.

It kind of helped to build excitement for the event.

The only other caveat is not to overlook anyone.  If nothing else, remember to invite anyone you are going to see on a regular basis!

Some people might hold a grudge if you forget to invite them. I personally recommend being as inclusive as possible. 


DIY Kiddush: Mindset 

Preparing for the Kiddush was exhausting. The week before, I frequently has only 4 hours of sleep at night.

I became quite cranky and it was difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Through the sleep deprivation, I struggled to keep my focus of being grateful that we were celebrating my husband’s recovery. In a blink of an eye, I know the outcome could have been much different. Opportunities to celebrate life are rare and to be treasured.  

Nevertheless, it was difficult to juggle work, day to day responsibilities, food preparation and all the organizational tasks involved in executing the event. I felt stretched to the limits.

So, my husband reminded me – “Just remember Who we are doing this for. At the end of the day, we have to keep in mind the guiding principles of why we are doing this. The food is secondary.”

Now, this is true, but it is not the whole truth. We are indeed spiritual beings having a physical experience, not physical beings having a spiritual experience. From this stems my belief our task in this world is to transform the physical into the spiritual. Therefore, our actions reveal who we are and what we value. Included in this is also what and how we eat.  

So, the Kiddush is about the food but not about the food.  

Food and eating are about physical substance and spiritual repair. Food cuts to the core of self-preservation and nurturance. It is really very primal.

On an absolute level, my husband is correct – the food is not in and of itself important.  Nevertheless, I felt that it was important to have the event be beautiful and nourishing both physically and spiritually. I wanted our expression of gratitude to be dignified and demonstrate proper respect for the occasion.

Where my husband and I both agree is that when we keep in mind our true purpose for doing anything, ultimately, we will be guided to what we need to do and where we need to be.

In the final analysis, the Kiddush was a beautiful affair, both physically and spiritually. We have so much to be grateful for.

Thank you everyone who helped make this occasion so special and memorable.



DIY Kiddush – Part 1

Two weeks ago we had a kiddush in our home to express our gratitude over my husband’s recent recovery. 

My husband is a walking medical miracle, and every day I am so grateful he is alive and survived this ordeal.

To express our gratitude we invited our friends and neighbors to our home following services on Saturday.

Up until this point, we have hosted a kiddush only 2 times: once when our daughters were born and then again when they had their bat mitzvahs.

Both times, we had them catered and held them at shul.

Although kiddushes are not a sit down meal, the expenses can add up. 

Since my husband was recovering and unable to work, we needed to express our gratitude more modestly.

There is an art and a science to having a kiddush in your home. And, unless you have done one before, it is not an intuitive endeavor.

A secret sisterhood which I called “The Kiddush Committee” came forward to assist me every step of the way. Without these wonderful and supportive women there is no doubt that our kiddush would not have been the resounding success that it was. Every step of the way I felt guided in this daunting endeavor.

Since planning a Kiddush is a multi step process, I am planning on posting a series on DIY Kiddush in your home.