Sheva Brachot Conscious Cooking And Time Management
I wanted to take a few moments to share how I was able to manage working and hosting Sheva Brachot in our home.
It was definitely a group effort. My husband, his sisters and I paced ourselves to get everything done. Raizel and Yaffa were big helpers too!
For something like this, delegate where you can, and graciously accept all offers for assistance.
I believe that we are let in the directions of our intensions. So, before tackling a big project, I constantly try to clear my mind and set my intensions. With prayer and positive thinking, miracles happen. Some how, everything always works out beautifully. I call this “Conscious Cooking.”
The menu was very simple. Yet, everything was healthy, fast and easy, all natural and mostly homemade. As much as possible, everything was prepared in advance and cooked a few hours before. So, in the end, I only needed to take off about 3 hours of work on the actual day of the Sheva Brachot to set up and finish the preparations.
Chaim was very kind to get married on Valentine’s Day. Providentially, the day after the wedding was a federal holiday. So I did not have work, and the girls were home from school too. We did most of the shopping and preparations on those 2 days.
The tables and chairs were borrowed from a gemach (plural gemachim) which is a free loan organization in our community.
For those who may not already know, a gemach is an abbreviation for “gemilut chasadim” or “acts of kindness. “ Historically, a gemach was a free loan fund for members of a community in need of financial assistance. The concept of a free loan has now expanded to include the free loans of household items, clothing, books, equipment, services and advice. There are many gemachim though out the community where we live, and also in most Jewish communities.
These free loan societies form the backbone of many acts of kindness within the community. My sister in law, Auntie Elle, as she is affectionately called by the girls, has a gemach where she will babysit for a family during the night, if the mother gives birth. This way the father can accompany his wife to the hospital. She calls her gemach “The Mitzvah (good deed) Sleepers.” I have another friend who has a clothing gemach. The list is endless.
So, whenever we have a special event and need extra tables and chairs, we go to our local gemach. There is even a local gemach for tablecloths and servicing pieces. The kindness of other people is awe inspiring!
Roasted carrot and squash soup
Lentil mushroom soup
Dips – humus and guacamole
Roasted baby potatoes
Brown rice with spinach and toasted nuts
Frozen peas and carrots
Cranberry Ice and cookies
Planning and Preparation:
On Sunday, I froze the chickens after they were spiced and prepared to be cooked. They were then defrosted on Tuesday night and cooked on Wednesday. I put them in the oven before I went to work, and Jay took them out of the oven after they were cooked. A team effort!
In between, we had an oven fiasco. The starter on our oven broke. Fortunately, we were able to get it fixed before the special event.
I roasted the vegetables for the soup on Monday in our second oven, which is parve and made the soups on Tuesday night after work. We have the relatively recent luxury of having 2 ovens: one for meat and the other parve, which means not used for dairy or meat. With 2 ovens, my cooking is done much faster!
I made the rice for the rice salad on Tuesday night and put rest of the ingredients in on Wednesday afternoon.
The potatoes as well as the carrots and peas were also cooked on Wednesday, after I came home from work.
The cookies were left over from the Kiddush that we had over the summer.
The cranberry ice was made on Sunday, frozen and then re-blended on Monday night after work.
The rolls were bought from a local bakery. While ordered on Sunday, they were picked up on Wednesday.
My husband and Raizel picked up the tables and chairs on Tuesday night. Together with my sister-in-law, they were set up by the time I came home on Wednesday afternoon.
When I got home, Raizel and my sister-in-law set the tables, with assistance and direction from me.
As I have shared, I am a cooker, not a cleaner. So for me, the cleanup is always the hardest part. I was responsible for washing the pots and serving pieces and putting the food away.
We all helped clear the tables and fold up the tables and chairs. My husband and Raizel returned them to the Gemach the following day.
It was a joyous celebration that will be treasured by our family for many years to come. Good times were had by all.
The bride and groom are extremely happy, and they have a wonderful group of friends to begin their new life together.
May Chaim and Rivkie be privledged to build a “bayit ne’eman b’yisroel” — “a faithful home among the Jewish people.”