Aloha Friday: Food Deprivation

Last week (and the beginning of this week), I celebrated Passover.  During this holiday, I give up a lot of foods like bread, rice, corn, beans, and soy products.  This can be a tricky time as we are confined to matzo as most of our source of carbs.  It also means that favorite year round foods, such as macaroni and cheese or soy-based veggie burgers, aren’t allowed.

Of course, in many ways I’m used to restricting my diet.  While growing up, I learned about the Kosher dietary rules during Hebrew school.  One by one I decided to follow them.  First, I stopped eating milk and meat together.  This meant turning my usual bacon cheeseburger into a bacon burger.

Next, I gave up all meats that couldn’t be kosher* while eating out.  This wasn’t too hard.  Except for bacon and the occasional Chinese food spare rib, I was never a big fan of shrimp, clams, ham and the like.  Spare ribs were occasional enough that I gave them up easily.  Bacon, however, I dreaded giving up.  I expected it to be a difficult affair packed with cravings and backsliding.  Instead, I turned my bacon burger into a plain burger and never looked back.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What foods would you find difficult (if not impossible) to give up for a week?  What foods would you find difficult or impossible to give up for the rest of your life?

* To clarify, by “meats that couldn’t be kosher”, I mean meats that intrinsically couldn’t be kosher due to the animal they come from** such as ham (from pigs) and shrimp.

** For the curious, the rule for land animals is cloven hooves and chews its cud. Pigs have the hooves but don’t chew their cud; cows do both.  Therefore cows are kosher while pigs aren’t.  Water animals, meanwhile, need to have fins and scales.  Tilapia, for example, have both and are thus kosher while shrimp have neither.  Of course, while eating out, I tend to just say I am “vegetarian” since this is quicker and something most waiters will understand instead of “I have a complex set of religious rules that I follow and here they are…”

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #85

The Beginning and Ending of Passover

 0418110823 0418110823a Today is the last day of Passover.  During the day, we’ll eat up some of the remaining matzoh and dream of the bread-filled meals coming the next day.  Technically, we can break Passover tonight, but, practically, eating dinner after 8:30pm isn’t worth it, even if it will be our first non-Passover meal in 8 days.

I was going to end with a Cooking With TechyDad post on how to make matzoh brie, but I realized that I did that last year.  So instead, I’ll give you a quick photo tour of our Passover experience.

The day before Passover, we mostly spent cleaning and shopping.  However, we did have one unexpected treat.  As we pulled into a local Target’s parking lot, we saw a familiar pink truck.  It was the Fluffalicious cupcake truck!


We decided to get the boys one cupcake each and split a giant cupcake between the two of us.  NHL got a S’mores cupcake.  JSL chose a chocolate banana cupcake.  B and I split a giant cookie dough cupcake.  (Let me tell you: It’s torture to go through these photos during Passover!)

IMGP7278  IMGP7285 IMGP7288IMGP7292 IMGP7293 

The morning before Passover, I went to temple very early.  You see, because one of the plagues was death of the first born, first born Jewish males have to fast the day before Passover.  However, there’s a way out of this obligation.  If you attend a special learning session, you have to celebrate afterwards by participating in a celebratory meal.  And once you eat, you’re let out of the fast for the rest of the day.

After temple, we went out to Friendly’s for breakfast.  B had eggs and french toast (which I don’t have a photo of), I had eggs and pancakes and the boys had M&M pancakes.

0418110823 0418110823a

Sadly, while delicious, this was our last non-Passover food for the next 8 days.

That night, we went to B’s aunt’s house for the Passover seder.  We had a great time with family and had fabulous food.

 IMGP7304 IMGP7309 IMGP7320 IMGP7321 IMGP7324 IMGP7332 IMGP7333 IMGP7336 IMGP7360 IMGP7362 IMGP7363 IMGP7371 IMGP7389 IMGP7390 IMGP7392 IMGP7395 IMGP7396 IMGP7399 IMGP7400 IMGP7401 IMGP7402 IMGP7404 IMGP7405 IMGP7407 IMGP7408 IMGP7409 IMGP7422 IMGP7423 IMGP7424 IMGP7425 IMGP7426 IMGP7427 IMGP7428 IMGP7429

The next night we had the second seder.  In many ways, it was a repeat of the first.  Lots of good times and good food with family.

IMGP7449 IMGP7469 IMGP7473 IMGP7483 IMGP7484 IMGP7502 IMGP7515 IMGP7524 IMGP7526 IMGP7549 IMGP7551 IMGP7553 IMGP7559 IMGP7560

During the rest of Passover, we dealt with a finicky child’s hunger strike (luckily, it turns out he really likes matzoh pizza), a lot of exhaustion and a lot of matzoh.  Tonight, we’ll pack up our Passover pans, cooking utensils and the like and put them away for another year.  I can’t say we’ll be very sorry to see it go.  Passover is fun, but by now we are all dreaming of our favorite non-Kosher-for-Passover foods!

20 Pounds In 20 Weeks: Week 14: First Passover Weigh-In

Starting Weight 205
Current Weight 186
Goal Weight 185
Lost 19
Left Until Goal 1

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been going on and on about Passover looming on the horizon.  I’ve been more and more fearful of the weight that would pack on when matzoh permeated my diet.  So when I stepped on the scale, I was shocked to see no weight gain.  Even more surprising, I lost 3 pounds!

I have no real explanation for this.  I haven’t been watching calories or points at all.  I was even snacking too much on Passover junk food while at work for two days.  Going to work during Passover means I need to pack all the food I’ll need during the day.  This means I need to estimate my day’s food needs.  It tends to seem to be a better idea to bring too much food than to not bring enough.  Sadly, this can result in over eating.

Still, despite this, I lost weight.  It should be interesting to see what the rest of Passover (and the days that follow it’s ending) brings.

Aloha Friday: A Holiday of Exhaustion and Stress, A Payoff of Pride

As I mentioned previously, I had a lot of cleaning to do before Passover.  The good news is that I got the cleaning done.  The bad news is that it came with a ton of stress.

Growing up, I remember my mother cleaning for Passover.  She would tear apart the entire kitchen, cleaning every cabinet and drawer even if we weren’t using them for the holiday.  The process took about a week and was completely exhausting.  (It didn’t help that my father, my sister and I didn’t help.  Bad younger me!)

Even though I don’t do the intense cleaning that she does and even though I made a checklist a few years back to help organize the process, it still is tiring work.

Then came the Seders.  I like going to B’s aunt’s Seders.  We get to see family and it means I don’t have to cook two meals just after a tiring cleaning session.  On the other hand, the Seders tend to run long.  We left the first Seder at 11:30pm (before it was completely over) and the second after midnight (again, before it was over).  The kids, somehow, stayed awake until after midnight each time.

Add in a bad sore throat that brought back memories of my New Year’s Day bout with strep (and therefore a trip to the doctor’s office to rule it out) and you can see why I’ve been feeling especially stressed out.

And yet, amid the stress and exhaustion, there were moments of joy.  Playing with my boys, spending time with them, and seeing them spend time playing with relatives.  But, perhaps best of all was seeing NHL at the Seder.  He loved singing Ma Nishtana (the Four Questions).  Perhaps he didn’t get all the words right, but he tried his best and enjoyed it.

Then, when it came time for responsive reading (which passes from person to person), he declined.  He didn’t want to read just any passage, he wanted to read the names of the 10 plagues.  During this, we dip our fingers in our wine glasses and leave a drop on our plates for each plague.  The symbolism here is that, in Judaism, wine represents joy.  Though we are happy to be free, our joy is diminished by the realization that people were injured/killed in the process of the exodus from Egypt.  As our joy is diminished, so our wine is diminished.

Noah, perhaps, doesn’t fully grasp the significance of this passage, but he realized it was important.  That was enough for him.  He wanted to do something important during the Seder and that filled me with pride!

My Aloha Friday question for today is twofold: Do you find holidays to be stressful and/or exhausting?  Also, what do you enjoy most about celebrating holidays with your children?

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #84

The Matzah Payoff

The past couple of days has been spent deep in cleaning mode.  I cleaned off our kitchen counters, cleaned the stovetop, cleaned the oven, cleaned the sink, cleaned the fridge, cleaned the freezer, cleaned the microwave… Well, you get the idea.  With all of the cleaning done and all of the non-Kosher-For-Passover items away, it was finally time to start the Seder.

I’d report on how the Seder went, except it hasn’t happened yet as I write this.  You see, as with any Jewish holiday, I stay offline during the celebration.  Thus, this post had to be scheduled pre-Passover.  If this year’s Seder goes according to plan, we’ll have a blast with B’s family, eat lots of food, drink some wine (well, some of us will) and generally enjoy the night.  I might even have some photos to share later.

To my Jewish readers, I wish you a Happy Passover.  To my non-Jewish readers, I hope you have a few happy matzah-free days.

1 3 4 5 6 7 8