Shavua Tov, Ya’ll (what? I’m from Texas!)

This week, it’s Rebecca’s turn. It was such a lovely surprise to have her in Philly for Shabbat, and Aliza certainly enjoyed sitting on Rebecca’s lap and clapping during Tikvah post-luck singing! As of now, no one’s signed up for next week, but you can change that.

Shabbat is my favorite day of the week; time to unplug, turn off my phone, relax, rest and spend time with family & friends… This week I prepared for Shabbat early. When I first offered to guest-blog, I thought I’d be in upstate NY for Shabbat to visit my friend’s student pulpit in a smaller Jewish community … but my plans changed and luckily I got to spend a wonderful, restful, relaxing and of course delicious Shabbat in Philly!!! On Thursday night, I helped bake for the Oneg: we made Lemon Bars, Carrot Cake, Caramel Grahams, and these… can you tell what they are?

These cute cookies are vanilla wafers with red and yellow icing, a peppermint patty and coconut with green food coloring (probably more fun to make than eat).

On Friday morning, I headed to Philly early. I started preparing for Shabbat by visiting Jewish patients and families at a hospital in Philadelphia, delivering challah, candles, and letting them know that the Jewish community is thinking about them and wishing them a Good Shabbos. Although I don’t do this every week, it is one of my favorite ways to start off Shabbat, and something I would highly recommend to anyone who has time to volunteer about once a month.

After finishing at the hospital, I headed to one of my many “homes” in Philly. These days I spend lots of time commuting from New York to Philly, and consider myself incredibly lucky to have amazing friends to stay with and who even let me cook in their kitchens! While I heard that there were a plethora of potlucks all over Center City this weekend, I was exhausted from a long week and decided to lay low and rest Friday night. So, I ate a quiet dinner of Kosher Vegetarian Chinese, with Yofitofi (the cat) and went to bed early for some much needed “Shabbat Menucha” (rest).

Saturday morning, Minyan Tikvah was meeting for services and a potluck lunch! It was so cold and windy on my way to shul, I almost turned around, but I made it just in time for the beautifully read Haftorah, and a wonderful “Mishenichnas Adar” inspired Musaf davening! Kiddush this week was all of those snack foods you might have had as a child: “Ants on a log”, chocolate pudding, pretzels w/frosting, animal crackers and more! As for lunch, I have been to many potlucks, and this group does not mess around. There was lots of delicious food, including but in no way limited to 3, yes that’s right 3 quinoa salads, two included black beans, and the one I made which was quite tasty!

Besides the quinoa salads, a few of my favorites were Jonathan’s peanut noodles, Miriam’s white bean and chickpea salad, and the spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese! While the food was good, the company was better, and the singing w/Aliza’s table clapping fantastic! After lunch a few of us headed to Mattea’s for a relaxing afternoon playing cards, laughing so hard it hurts and eating leftover quinoa salad, hummus and chips. Before we knew it, Shabbat was over, we made Havdallah and I braved the cold, windy streets on my way back home!

Ingredients for Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa and Brown Rice Deliciousness…

1 box NearEast brand Rosemary and Olive Oil Quinoa and Brown Rice
1 cup of dry tri-color quinoa (prepare as directed, mine was 1 cup to 2 cups of water)
asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, yellow/orange bell pepper, black olives, feta, garlic (fresh or frozen), salt, pepper and olive oil…

Here is an approximation of what I did: Prepare the quinoa per the package directions. cut the asparagus into about 1 inch pieces, sauté with lots of garlic a bit of olive oil, cooked to desired tenderness, add in sun dried tomatoes. Slice/chop/crumble the peppers and black olives and feta; when the quinoa is cooked, first add the peppers while it’s hot, so they soften a bit, but don’t actually cook…and then combine remaining ingredients. (I usually add the feta last and then salt and pepper to taste.) Serve warm, or cold, it’s delicious either way! Enjoy!



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