Newsletter vol.1 issue 8
Iyar 5770~ May 2010

Queen in the Kitchen
Cooking for The King

~When Life
Gets in the Way~

“Life gets in the way of living;” it’s a comment I read on facebook this morning. Don’t you often feel like that? Any of us could certainly fill in the blank here: “I wish I could take a minute and…; when I have time we can… ; or as soon a I finish this, I’ll...”

In just the past few days, I’ve sat down to write this newsletter at least 5 times. Then, the phone rings, the dryer buzzes, or I remember that (probably-not-so) essential errand I need to run. By the time I gather my thoughts again and think I can carve out an hour or two, it’s suddenly time to make dinner.

Trick by Brick

This is a trick of the Yester Hara. Consider this: As soon as Moshe requested that Pharaoh allow the B’nai Yisrael to leave for a few days to worship Hashem, Pharaoh made it harder for the slaves to make bricks. It doesn’t make sense. Wouldn’t having them gather their own straw make his slaves less productive? Plus, wouldn’t harsher conditions make their rebellion more likely?

Just the opposite says the Ramchal. Pharaoh wanted to deprive the B'nai Yisrael of the time to think about their plight. Even though their misery mounted, they barely had the strength to deal with the job before them: making bricks. Wondering about, praying for and planning ways to free themselves from the burden of brickmaking was an inaccessible luxury.

So too, the Yetzer Hara keeps us busy with our own bricks, the building blocks of daily living. We often don’t have time to reflect and think about what we really want in life. Even if we do know, we so often don’t set aside the time required to get us there...

...time to think about and set goals to lead us to our aspirations; time to reflect on our middos, our character traits, and work to improve our actions until we can be the kind of person we know we can be--the kind of person Hashem wants us to be.

(next column)

Cook Once, Eat Twice Recipes
frees hours in your week.
Try mine or create your own with these simple tips.

Now go and DO something GREAT!

Time for the Good LIfe

Let's look at time as a tool for building a Torah life. Our first mitzvah as a free nation was to set the calendar. Each of the holidays is a channel for blessing that is available at that particular station in time. Shabbat comes every week so we can proclaim our only master is the Creator of the world. Each day of the week is blessed through our observance of Shabbat.

The time we are now in is called Sefira. The way we spend our first weeks redeemed from slavery lays the foundation for our mission as a people. Now that we are free, we have the leisure to think, to plan, to set spiritual goals and improve our character. Our acceptance of the Torah is built on this foundation.

When we look at the duties of our daily lives as a burden, when the bricks get in the way of our spiritual growth, we are still in the slave mentality. But when think about our Jewish homes as palaces for the neshamas who dwell there and realize our responsibilities help us to connect to the King, we become the royal nation Hashem intended.

The Best Laid Plans

The goal of making our homes into the palaces we want them to be requires thought and planning. At the same time we are thinking about how to accomplish our spiritual goals, it’s also good time to strategize about how to make better use of time in our day-to-day lives.

One simple step is to make a meal plan. I know some very organized ladies who know what’s for dinner two weeks from this Tuesday. Some of us begin planning the night’s meal when we hear the question “What’s for dinner?”

Somewhere in between is my strategy: cook once, eat twice. This is where I plan complimentary menus. Chicken, veggies and potato one night, become Creamy Pasta Primavera the next. Tacos and rice become Mexi-Stuffed Peppers you can freeze for another night.

I am also a fan of Planned Overs. Planned Overs combine staples in your pantry with those foods in your fridge destined to oblivion after their moments of stardom on your Shabbos table. I have a chapter on Planned Overs in Cooking for The King and you can read more about Planned Overs on

Planning meals ahead of time frees hours each week for me to enjoy those walks and talks I dream of. That is, as long as I stay away from facebook.

What do you think of this month's Queen in the Kitchen monthly newsletter?
I value your comments and suggestions.

Cooking for The King: The book of Torah insights, recipes and practical tips designed to bring majesty to the mundane.