Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Everyone has their Pekel.
I just got mine first. 

It's all relative you know. 
No heat - No problem. 
No hot water - No problem. 
No electricity - No problem. 

With the garbage I have had to deal with these past few weeks -
It's all relative to me. 
I can get through anything. 
Life is a total adventure and I am so ready for this ride.

Where did I get my strength? How am I handling this???

Because I have realized that I have all that is important to me. 
We are ok. 
My family is safe. 
My parents are ok. 
My sisters are ok.
My brothers are ok. 
I've got what I need to survive. 

I don't need things. 
I don't need power. 
I don't even need the internet (although it's nice) 
All I need are my loved ones. 

God is telling us. 
It's time to get back to basics. 
It's time to see what truly matters.

What will I remember most about Sandy?

The sounds.....
The power of the wind is like nothing I have ever known. 
I have never been so scared before. 

Generators are the new "it" things in my neighborhood. 
Their buzzing is a calming feeling among the eerie quite that surrounds me. 

Gasoline is a commodity. I filled my entire tank before the storm as everyone told me to do. 
I am so thankful. 
No one can get gas for miles away. 

The sights.....

On the night of the storm the sky was lit up in green and red sparks as the wind blew out generators all over the city. 
It looked like an electrical parade from Disney Land.
Driving around at night is so strange with no lights. 
All the houses are dark and silent. 
My boys watching the wind.
You can see the amazement on their faces. 
Taping our windows during the storm. 

In front of our Kosher grocery store.
Don't know when it will re open. 

Trees are down everywhere. 

My friend was in her basement with her family.
The tree went right into her sons room. 

Down my block.

But life goes on.
Who doesn't like finger puppets during a black out??

After looking at the devastating pictures that are all over the news and throughout my small town of Passaic, NJ, you realize that as much as you think that you are in control of the world, YOU ARE NOT. 

I got my pekel first so that I could help others now. 

I have a place that is safe. 
It might have no power, but a place none the less to offer shelter to those who don't. 

Because what I have learned is - when you are stripped of everything you have and are left with nothing, you see that what you have is everything you need to survive. 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Old House - New House

It's the start of the new week and it seems that it's the start of my new life.

New House.
New Job for the Hubs.
New Carpool routes for the kids.

Change is good - or so it seems.
I still mourn my home, but I am trying to make a new one in this house.
At least I'm showing a bright smile for my kids - it's an adventure you know!

I've decided - for the sake of my own sanity to move on and stop wallowing.
{Dude, snap out of it!}

Today I spent shopping for the incidental things - The items we kind of forget that we need, but use daily.
Pots and pans
A drain board
Silverware dividers
Cutting board (oysh! I loved my old one.....It was so cute in the shape of a paint pallet -{stop wallowing}
Bathtub stopper
Wine opener and glasses - SERIOUSLY. Don't judge.
And loads more... the list goes on and on.

Got the call that my studio furniture and supplies are being returned to me tomorrow. So happy just a little nervous as to what shape it will all be in.

And then this afternoon another storm hits.
Someone charged close to $1,000 using my business card.
But the card is still in my wallet.
{Stop wallowing}

Bank account suspended till it's all sorted.
No $
{Stop Wallowing.....}

And then when I get to the bank my iphone falls on the floor and shatters.
The shattered glass makes a neat affect - that is an upside....

So tonight I've decided I'm in great need of some comfort food.
I love lasagna. I could eat an entire pan myself. No joke.
I am very serious about my lasagna. Can you tell?
Just call me Garfield.

I've noticed that there is a great lasagna debate between ricotta and cottage cheese. Have you??
 I'm a ricotta cheese kind of girl, but my hubs likes cottage cheese.
I kind of win since I make it - sorry Sim.

What kind do you use? Why?

Here's step by step instructions on how to make my lasagna.
I promise when you taste it, you'll be blown away.
It's that good.
But you've got to use the same sauce that I use.
Of course change out the cheese if needed.
I am not Cholov Yisroel, but when my sis comes to visit with her brood I change the cheese out and it tastes the same.
Trust me. Your kids will be BEGGING you to make it again.

(1) 9" Rectangle Pans
(1) Packs of shredded Cheese
(1) Jars of Barilla - Tomato and Basil Sauce
(1) boxes of lasagna noodles
1lb Ricotta Cheese
Black Pepper

In a bowl mix the ricotta cheese with 1/3 a jar of the Barilla
Sauce. Mix in garlic and black pepper. 

Put 3 DRY noodles on the bottom of the tin and add
1/2 of the ricotta mixture onto them.

Add 3 more noodles on top of the ricotta mixture
Place some more tomato sauce and 1/2 the shredded cheese.
                                                STEP 4

                                   REPEAT STEPS 2 & 3 

                                                STEP 5                                                                                                                              Your tomato sauce jar should be empty now. 
                                         Fill up 1/3 of water into the glass jar. 
                                    Pour down around the lasagna so it's surrounded by water.
                                          Cover and place in oven @350 for 45 minutes. 
                                             Then uncover for 15 till crunchy :) 

                                               STEP 6
Plate & Serve 

So for now my kids are playing and I'm gonna sit at my rented table and stuff my face with some lasagna.
{not wallowing}

Tomorrow is a brand new day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Moving On.....

Sunset in the Fall.

Most people who know me are familiar with the fact that I do not wallow in my own grief. Many things, sad things, have happened to me. I have a famous saying that goes...... "I could either sit here and cry about it, or I can get up and do something about it."


I have prepared a Plan B for almost everything.
What if.......
My husband died?
I lost a child?
One of my children got sick?
I got sick?
We ran out of money?
My husband lost his job?
My mother died?
My sister died?
My car got stollen?
My house got broken into?

Never did I really plan for something of this magnitude to happen to me. I assumed that if something would happen to my house I would figure it out. Isn't that why you have insurance?

Never did I think that I would lose my belongings.
Never did I think that I would be homeless.

My rebbetzin said to me once - In order to fulfill the mitzvah of Chesed you not only have perform it, but you have to be able to accept it.

Thank God I live in a community where people are so kind and helpful.
The outpouring of support from my fans is immense.

I have never felt the need to run away as I did last week.
I honestly just wanted to flee. 
But I have 5 children watching me. What was I supposed to do?
They are all looking at me for guidance and I just wanted to cry.
I am stunned.

I have had sleep.
The packing and cleaning are done.
Tomorrow is a new day.

SO for now, that's it. I am finished wallowing in my sorrow.
It's time to get up from mourning my loss and look forward to what Hashem has in store for me.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Closed For Repairs

At this point in time, I thought I would be working on my Chanukah pieces and writing up my latest blog post regarding my amazing trip to Vermont.

Instead, I am sitting in a hotel room 15 minutes away from my house. A house that is no longer a home. Just an empty shell of broken walls and pulled up floors.

If you don't already know, a leak in my second floor bathroom has deemed my home "uninhabitable" - everything has been packed up and shipped off to a storage facility and all that remains are some clothes that I was able to rescue.

What a humbling experience.
I have no home to go to.
No place familiar.

I have such saddness.
So much.
Everything I had. Everything that was mine. Is gone and I don't know when it will come back.

Thank God the most important thing, my children, are safe and sound. You can replace objects but my children are priceless.

Bereishis, in the beginning.
This week's Parsha.
I have my faith. I have Emunah.
Hashem doesn't call you on the phone to let you know that things will happen.
They just do.

It's time for change.
It's time for Bereishis.

This week brings more challenges and heartbreak.
Please stay with me.
It's your support that helps me stay afloat.
I hope to find a new place to paint and work soon.

Till next time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The FAMOUS Beer Chicken Recipe

A couple of Succos's ago, I made this chicken recipe. I usually use wine and NOT beer, but since we were at the tail end of the holiday and we were totally out of wine I decided to substitute it for beer. I served the chicken and not only was it completely gone, the men started sucking on all the little bits. I ended up bringing the actual roasting pan out to the Sukkah so they could all finish it off! It's that good!

Since then, I have made this chicken recipe EVERY Yom Tov. Everyone always requests the Beer Chicken.

I am now sharing it with all of you. Although the chicken is everyone's favorite part, mine happens to be the potatoes. Try the recipe out and let me know which is your favorite!

FYI - It makes the PERFECT Simchas Torah lunch. Make it before you leave and come back hours later to something sooooo delicious!

Before you begin, if you want this chicken to taste all that it can be, you MUST make it inside of a roasting pan. I have a blue one that I got from Target. They cost around $10. It's not the same in a tin. Trust me.

Here's what you need:
Roasting Pan
1 Onion 
1 Zucchini 
1 Yellow Squash
8 Potatoes
1 Red Pepper
1 Bottle of Beer (Samuel Adam's) 
Black pepper 
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
2 or 3 Whole Chickens 

Step 1 - Add some oil to the bottom of the roasting pan. Put the pan on your stove top and turn on (2) burners. Cut up onions and saute. Cut up the zucchini,  squash, and pepper and add it to the roasting pan. Clean the skin of the potatoes well. DO NOT peel the skin off. Cut them up into 4th and add to the pan. The peel adds a really nice rustic flavor to the vegetables. Add some salt and pepper.

Step 2 - Clean your chickens and put them on top of the vegetables. You can now turn off your burners. Cover your chickens with the spices - Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Onion, and Paprika. Rub the chickens so that the spices goes all over, especially on the bottom. At this point I also stick an onion into the chicken, but you can use an apple or a pear. That will give your chickens a fruitier taste.

Step 3 - Pour your beer on top of the chickens and around into the vegetables. Once all the beer is put in, fill up half the bottle with water and add it to the pan.

Step 4 - Cover your roasting pan and stick into the oven at 350 degrees for 4 hours. You know that it's ready when the chicken's skin is brown and crunchy looking - Like this.


You want to be careful when serving the chicken. It will be VERY soft. Cutting it will be super easy, so you don't want it to fall apart into bits. It's an absolutely beautiful dish to serve. Cut up the chickens or leave them whole on the platter. The vegetables are the perfect consistency and are my favorite part! Serve the Beer Chicken with apple kugle, pumpkin pie, and a yummy salad!

Perfect additions to this festive meal!