Monthly Archives: March 2009

Banana Crunch Muffins

I mentioned last week that I was planning to make these for Shabbos breakfast for the kids, but my mom surprised us by bringing over some cold cereal, so I didn’t end up making them after all.   I don’t usually share recipes until after I’ve tried them out and they’ve been successfully received by the family, but since Yael asked for it, here it is!

Banana Crunch Muffins

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted

Mix all of the dry ingredients, then mix all of the wet ingredients in another bowl.  Combine both mixes, combining until just mixed.  Put in an muffin pan.

Then – Topping:

  • 2 T. flour
  • 1/8 t. cinnamon
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/4 c. sugar (optional)

Combine all of the topping ingredients, and sprinkle on top of the muffins.  Bake at 375 degrees for 18 – 20 minutes.

Alternatives:

 – For the topping, you can substitute sliced almonds – that’s what I’d do. 

– If you’d like to use this basic recipe to make blueberry muffins, then replace the bananas with 1 c. blueberries and 3/4 c. applesauce. 

 I’d also use whole wheat or spelt flour, and substitute sucanat for the sugar.

Avivah

Annual shul banquet

Tonight I attended our shul’s annual banquet.  I really appreciate our shul – it’s a very warm and accepting place.  It’s an important value to me that my children see acceptance for all kinds of people within the mainstream structure of Judaism, ie, not just within our family, and this has been a place where our family messages are enhanced.  I also think it’s valuable for kids to realize that substance over form is what is most important in serving H-shem, and it’s too easy to focus on having a certain ‘look’ and feeling like that’s enough to be a religious person.  This is the only annual dinner that I attend – at $100 a seat, dinners are expensive and take time away from my family, but in this case, I’m happy to spend the money to support my shul.  I don’t see a lot of things as being necessary to spend money on, but shul membership and the dinner are both things that I feel are important – if I say that being a member of my shul enhances our lives, I have to put my money where my mouth is, right?  So skimping on this isn’t a way that I choose to save money, and I hope H-shem will continue to keep us in a position of being able to support our shul to at least this degree. 

Before I went to the dinner, I decided that tonight I would have to wear something maternity-like, because it’s an easy way to give a heads up to a lot of people in one evening that we’ll be having a baby soon.  A friend recently commented that it looks like I’m going to surprise everyone again when I have this baby.  Last week I was wearing something that I was sure made it very obvious, until I bumped into three friends within an hour.  And when I mentioned it, two of them were shocked and had no idea.  (In the past, I assumed most people realized but weren’t saying anything.  I realized that I was wrong about that.)  The third said she thought I was at the very beginning and she didn’t want to say anything so early on.   Since I have less than six weeks to go, you would think it would be more apparent, but I guess it’s not.  It was fun that so many people were surprised in the past, but it kind of freaked a lot of people out that they saw me right before (even up to the night before) the baby was born and didn’t realize I was pregnant.  (If you’re wondering how it’s possible, I think it’s several factors: 1) I don’t gain a huge amount of weight; 2) I’m tall; 3) I don’t wear maternity, just wear larger sized clothing; 4) it’s been the winter/spring season so layers make it less obvious.)  But then I tried on what I was planning to wear.  Being a person who doesn’t wear loose flowing clothes, I felt like a ship sailing into harbor, and decided it was too much for me.  So I just wore my regular clothes, and no one said anything.   They’ll figure it out eventually. :)  My kids keep asking me when I’ll tell people, and since I told them I would wear something more obvious tonight but didn’t, they’re now bugging me to try it on for them so at least they can see how huge it makes me look.  :)

The dinner was lovely, as always.  Most dinners are boring and filled with speeches, but there’s always a special atmosphere at our shul dinners.  I think it’s the authenticity and ‘realness’ of the people who are honored each year, as well as the rabbi.  One thing I’ve found unusual is that those who are honored aren’t necessarily those with deep pockets, but those who have contributed to the shul or the community in a meaningful way. 

There was also a wonderful a capella group that performed several songs – I was delighted to able to buy their cd at the end of the dinner to take home for the kids to enjoy (and because it was directly from the group that performed, it was much cheaper than from a store). All of our kids enjoy music, though ds15 is probably the one who most influenced the others in this regard with his obvious enjoyment of music.  This will be nice to have in time for sefira, since we haven’t had anything else we listen to during that time. 

To top off my lovely evening out with my dh, we came home to a spotless house – my  kids sometimes like to surprise me by cleaning up everything when I’m out.  But today the credit all goes to one child, dd12.  Isn’t that nice?  I told her that it was really too much work for one person to take on, but it was her choice and she wanted to do it.  Since we did the week’s worth of Pesach cleaning earlier today, I wouldn’t have expected anything from anyone – I thought they did more than enough getting the basement finished off today.  I gave them a choice of spreading it out over three afternoons as planned or doing it all today, and they chose to do it all today.  It was a beautiful warm and sunny day- there’s something about cleaning on such a nice day that makes it so much more enjoyable, don’t you think?  It makes it feel like spring is almost here.  I love the spring.  The littles ran around the yard for the entire time the olders were cleaning, enjoying the warm weather – my ds18 month particularly loves being outside.  As soon as he sees the door starting to open, he makes a break for it. :) 

So as far as Pesach cleaning goes, now I just have the living/dining room/kitchen to do next week.  It’s nice to be able to know that three floors of the house are basically finished, and we can enjoy the rest of this week in whatever way we want.

Avivah 

Repairing the dryer

My dryer has become increasingly problematic in the last few weeks.  It started by lengthening the drying cycles, until it would go for hours at a time even when set to the shortest setting.  At least the clothes were dry when we would finally realize the dryer hadn’t shut itself off, though.  It was annoying to have it running so long since it’s a huge electricity hog, and I try to keep my electric use in check by minimizing the use of things like this.  But my kids do the laundry, so I’m not usually aware of what setting they put things on, and they won’t mention something like the cycles taking longer than usual until it becomes very noticeable.  This is something that got worse and worse but didn’t seem like it was worth mentioning.

Then about a week and a half ago, even after hours in the dryer, the clothes weren’t coming out dry!   I suggested to my son on laundry duty for this month that he hang the clothes outside, a suggestion that met with a less than enthusiastic reception.  He didn’t feel there was much appeal standing outside in the cold, hanging laundry, not to mention that it’s a lot quicker to throw a load into the dryer.  So the laundry was backing up, and several family members were wondering why they had no shirts to wear, despite having sent them to the basement for washing long before (laundry is supposed to be done every 2 or 3 days, and as long as the clothes are brought down, they usually are washed in a timely way).  His frustration level mounted when he finally took me up on my suggestion to wash several loads at night before he went to sleep, and then hang them all at once in the morning. 

That sounds like a reasonable idea, doesn’t it?  The night he did all the laundry, he called the weather hotline to check if rain was expected.  It was, during the night, but it didn’t rain then.  So the next morning, before I was even up, thinking he was clear as far as rain went, he spent 45 minutes hanging up every piece of laundry, even the tiniest items.  And as he was finishing hanging everything, the skies opened up.  No, frustrated isn’t a strong enough term to express his feelings at that moment! 

Fortunately, my dear husband came to the rescue, and decided to learn some dryer repair. :)  He did some reading, and then opened up the dryer and took it apart.  (Doesn’t that sound impressive?  His friends thought so!)  He found a lot of lint accumulation, so he cleaned it out and put it all back together, hoping that would resolve the issue.  Unfortunately, it didn’t solve the problem, though it’s good to get the excess lint out of the way as it can become a fire hazard.  So he did some more reading, then took it apart again, and discovered that the heating element was burnt out. 

That necessitated buying another heating element, but when he did the initial pricing and discovered it would be $75 to buy it, he suggested it would be cheaper if I got a used dryer on Craig’s List.  I suggested that he first call a couple of appliance repairmen and find out if they had ideas for where to buy the piece.  He made a couple of calls, found a place to buy the element for $25 (and one of the repairmen offered him a job!), and went out to buy it.  Back at home, he was getting ready to put it in when he inadvertently stepped on the heating element that he had placed on the floor, smooshing the coil out of shape.  So he tried to reshape it, and installed it.  He turned on the dryer, only to watch it promptly short out!

Fortuntately, my husband isn’t a quitter, so back to the store he went, buying another $25 element (he said he considered the extra cost the fee for his education :)), and then again installed it.  Quick and easy this time around, and the dryer now works perfectly!  Not only is it heating properly, but the issue with the timer resolved, too.  And you can bet my son is relieved to have it working!

Avivah

A play and free ices

I just got home from taking the kids to a musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.  We did a lot of the preparations for Shabbos yesterday afternoon so we could enjoy going out on a Friday morning without rushing or being worried there wouldn’t be time to do all that needs to be done when we got back. 

The performance was excellent – very well done and very fun.  Though it’s generally based on the classic Biblical story of Joseph, I told my kids to watch it as if it had nothing to do with that and was just about a person named Joseph and things that happened to him.  Otherwise, they would be bothered by inconsistencies or things that didn’t seem appropriate.  

Since it was the dress rehearsal, we were able to enjoy it without having to pay the $10 per person fee that will be charged tonight (there was a basket for voluntary donations).  We’ve had similar opportunities in the past to attend wonderful performances of all sorts for free or for a token cost because we attended the dress rehearsals.  It’s only because the kids are homeschooled that we can take advantage of these showings, since most kids are in school during the day. 

My ds15 stayed home, as did ds18 months, so I just took six kids with me.  The days of everyone being young enough to go to one performance are for the most part over – because of the singing by females in a number of them, ds doesn’t go to things like this with us.  Fortunately he doesn’t feel bothered to be missing it.  And it made it easier for me that he did stay home, since I didn’t have to take a child too young to sit still for more than five minutes. 

The almost three year old did great, though it was a long time for him to sit, so he wanted to go out about fifteen or twenty minutes before the end.  I went into the hallway with him and joined the other two or three mothers with toddlers.  :)  Fortunately, the door was open so I was able to still view the performance.  And afterwards I bumped into a couple of homeschooling moms I haven’t seen for 2.5 years when we met at a planetarium show I took the kids to, which was nice.

Afterwards, I took the kids to get ices from Rita’s.  Today is the first day of spring, and every year, Rita’s has complimentary ices on this day.  (If you’re seeing this today, check their website to find the location closest to you, and you might be able to still take advantage of this if you have the desire and can find the time.)   Since we got there at 1 pm, there was virtually no line (when we went two years ago, it was after school hours so the line was huge and we waited for over a half hour); I hardly had time to park the van before the kids were ready to load up again!   Dd14 got an ices for ds15 to enjoy, since he wasn’t with us.  He would have been more sorry to miss that the performance. :)   A tip from my kids – the fruit flavors are much better than the flavors that imitate cake or candy.

Even though I’ve already shared with you that I try to make a cleaning schedule that is relaxed for everyone, at this time of year, I make more of an effort to do fun activities outside of the house.  I want pre-Pesach to be a time of enjoyment, and things like this help add a nice balance to our schedules.

Avivah

Being open to what is offered

Back in the summer, I shared with you that someone I know only very casually called me to ask if we’d be interested in a bunch of toys that her married daughter was getting rid of.  I said, ‘sure!’, and she brought over a few bags of toys.   Most of those toys weren’t suitable for our family, and it was one of the rare occasions that I thought to myself that I’d say ‘no’ if asked again.  But my kids enjoyed going through the bags, got some nice looseleafs from one bag, cleaned up and sold some of the Barbies from another bag, and we donated or threw away the rest. 

A couple of weeks after she offered us the toys, she called again, saying now she was cleaning and had some more toys. Those were a lot nicer!  When she brought them by we were chatting for a while, and she very hesitantly mentioned that she often froze leftover chicken and meat from Shabbos because she hates to throw it away. She doesn’t use it because it’s just her and her husband at home, and they don’t want to eat leftovers from Shabbos all week.  She didn’t want to offend me, but wondered if we might use it?  No, I wasn’t offended.  She said got the impression that we had similar values in terms of not being wasteful of resources and that’s why she thought to ask me.  So about once a month since then, she calls me and brings over her leftovers (just fleishigs, nothing else).  It’s a big enough amount for her in her freezer that it’s a burden, but small enough for us that it becomes one generous dinner. :) Since it’s frozen, I can’t always tell exactly what each item is without defrosting it, so last time I decided they were all similar enough to throw everything into one pot – my kids kept saying how amazing it was!

I got another call yesterday from this same woman – would I be interested in a frozen 12 pound turkey?  (This is on sale now for $2.99 lb, so it’s a value of over $35.)  She bought two for Thanksgiving, but it was more than they needed, so they only cooked one.  It’s been in her freezer since then, because they don’t like turkey.  No problem, I assured her, I could find something to do with it. :)  At first I thought I’d put it in my freezer for Pesach, but when I sent one of the kids downstairs with it, they came back up telling me there was no room.  (I really have to go downstairs to see for myself why the freezer is so full, because it seems to me it shouldn’t be after I dehydrated lots of frozen veggies to empty it out.)  Since the only place I had space to put it was the fridge, it’s now defrosting there and we’ll enjoy it for Shabbos. 

I have a policy of saying ‘yes’ to just about everything that is offered to us unless I’m sure it’s something we won’t use.  (Don’t think I have offers right and left being made to me – I don’t, but when it happens this is my policy.)  I may not be able to use it, but I always ask the person offering it to me if it would be okay with them if I pass it on if it doesn’t meet our needs.  The reason I say ‘yes’ even if I’m not sure it will be useful to us is that once you say ‘no’ to someone, do you think they’ll feel comfortable asking you again the next time?  Probably not.  We live in a time of so much material abundance that people are afraid to offend someone by offering them something.  But people don’t usually make these offers because they see someone else as being in need or lacking – it’s because they have something they value that they would rather to give to someone they know who will appreciate it than an impersonal thrift store.  When they see that you’re a person who accepts their offer in the spirit it was intended, they can feel good about sending your way whatever they give you, and might even think of you again in the future when they have something to pass on.   I think H-shem has many ways to send brocha (blessing) into our lives, and sometimes it’s through other people.  You have to make it easy for them, though!

We’ll certainly be enjoying our turkey dinner with our guests this Friday night!

Avivah

Taking responsibility for your choices

>>I started budgeting five years ago when I got on board Dave Ramsey’s program. It changed our lives and resulted in downsizing from 3200 sq. ft. to 1500 sq. ft.. This resulted in saving lots on our utility bills as well and no more gardeners and house cleaners:) One of the higher bills for us is orthodontics and tuition for the yeshiva student/limudei kodesh tutor for the hschooler. These are not really negotiable. I do have a somewhat generous “blow” fund as well for sheitels (cheap ones), slurpees and such.<<

Thank you for sharing your experience, Michelle.  I think people drastically underestimate the power of budgeting and getting their expenses under control to make a huge difference in their finances.  I love how you chose to downsize to a smaller home to make your budget work – housing is the main area in our budget that I very much want to adjust but haven’t yet found a way to do it.  I keep thinking about it, though! 

I hear alot of complaining about expenses, particularly at this time of year.  I don’t begrudge anyone the fun of complaining to a friend and getting some sympathy.  We all enjoy that occasionally.  But it’s the underlying attitude that I’d like to address. 

Too many people claim that most of their expenses are non negotiable (some, like tuition, really aren’t negotiable if you feel your kids need to be in private school), but most expenses have a lot of wiggle room.  Until a person recognizes that they’re making lifestyle choices that affect their spending, they’re going to see themselves as victims.  It’s a lot more prevalent for people to complain about the unrealistic standards of the communities they live in – the material expectations of what kind of simchas/events to host, what kind of vacations to take/clothes to buy, what kind of foods to serve both during the week and for Shabbos/holidays, even the temperature they keep their thermostat set at – than to take personal responsibility and recognize that they are making choices.  

When someone says “I can’t afford it”, “I don’t have time”, etc, they may be accurate.  (Or not. :))  But even if that’s true, it seems to me that one’s energy is better spent by looking at what they can to do change a situation than to bemoan their fate.   I think that asking “How can I make this situation better?” is a much better strategy to living a happy and productive life than saying, “I can’t do anything about it”.   Maybe we will find something we can do to improve our situation if we look hard enough.  (I’ve learned a tremendous amount over the years by being open to those who were successful in the areas I wanted to succeed in.)  It’s certainly a lot more empowering to focus on where our power lies than in where it doesn’t.

Avivah

Now we’re in the Pesach cleaning groove!

Hooray!  Despite having a number of changes to our cleaning schedule the last couple of days, the top two floors of the house are almost done being cleaned for Pesach!  That means all of the bedrooms, the attic, linen closet, and kids’ bathroom.  All that is left is part of our room and bathroom, both of which I should be able to finish off within an hour tomorrow afternoon.  

Don’t think this was due to just my efforts – all of my kids are involved in cleaning, and that’s why we can go so quickly.  I see Pesach cleaning as a team effort, and it’s so much nicer like that for us all, since no one has to feel overwhelmed by how much they have to do.  My ds15 has finished his closet, and it looks great.  The boys still need to do a final sweep, but ds10 is having a sleepover tonight with a friend, so I’ll wait until his friend goes home tomorrow to ask him to finish that up.  My dd12, when she heard me mention that I was behind schedule, decided to surprise me and clean the baby’s room, linen closet, and bathroom (it’s her month to do the bathrooms, and she didn’t think it was a big deal to clean it more thoroughly for Pesach) while I was upstairs organizing the attic.  That was a very nice surprise!  And she enjoyed doing it. 

I got the major organizing of the attic out of the way, which isn’t exactly Pesach cleaning, but I don’t like knowing there are bags of clothing waiting to be sorted and packed away.  It’s like mental clutter, knowing that it’s there and needing to be done, and it takes up some of the space in the back of my brain.  So I’m glad to have it taken care of, and it looks much neater now.  Plus while I was at it, I pulled out some Shabbos robes, dresses, and outfits for the girls for Pesach. 

Next week my goal is to do the basement (Sun – storage room, Mon – laundry room, Tues – main area and bathroom).  The following week I’d like to do the main floor and turn over the kitchen (Sun – living room, Mon – dining room, Tues – kitchen, Wed – monthly shopping, Thurs. April 2 – finish kitchen and turn over). 

Then I’ll have the few days before Pesach for laundry, cooking, and last minute shopping.  There you have it, my simple Pesach cleaning schedule.  That’s my secret to sanity in preparing for Pesach and enjoying yom tov – plan ahead, don’t schedule too much at one time for anyone, work together, leave more time than you need to get everything done, and remember the goal that you’re working towards. 

Avivah

Bread pudding

Here’s a really good recipe for bread pudding that we had yesterday for the first time.  I’ve made challah kugel before, but this dairy version was much better.

Bread Pudding

  • 1 c. raisins (I left these out)
  • 2 c. milk, scalded
  • 1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
  • 12 slices stale bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 1/2 c. sucanat (I used 1 cup)
  • 4 c. milk
  • 6 eggs (you can separate them and fold the egg whites in, but that’s too much work for me for a regular meal)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. nutmeg
  • dash salt

Plump raisins in one cup of scalded water, then drain.  Mix 2 c. scalded milk and butter so that butter melts.  Then add the bread, sucanat, 4 c. milk, and eggs.  Pour the entire mixture into a greased pan.  Sprinkle raisins on top, and then top with some powdered sugar, if desired (I left this out).  Cover lightly with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for at least 45 minutes.  Remove foil and brown for the last ten minutes or so.  I’d estimate it makes a 9 x 13 pan full – we made one huge pan that’s double a 9 x 13, plus one small round cake pan.

I tried this recipe because I had a few loaves of challah that were overbaked – someone forgot to take them out of the oven. :)  I used three loaves of challah, and measured everything else out at triple the recipe, but only doubled the sweetener.  The recipe was still plenty sweet, so I’m thinking the above original measurements would probably be too sweet.  But I’m leaving it for you to decide.

It’s nice to have recipes like this that can put to use something like stale or dried bread, that otherwise would be wasted.  The kids said this was delicious, so I’ll keep it in my collection of recipes to use in the future.  (By the way, if you make the bread pieces small, you don’t have to wash for this.  I also think it’s more pudding like with smaller pieces.) 

Since lots of people find odd bits of challah and bread when they clean their freezers for Pesach, this could be very useful particularly at this time of year!

Avivah

The incredible shrinking food bills

>>I’ve found that since I have such a good stockpile of non-perishable food, my grocery bill is less every month.<<

I got online with the intent to post about exactly this point, Michelle.  I realized this morning that I’ve been misrepresenting how much I spend monthly on food here with all of you.  I’ve been saying that I spend $600 monthly for our family of ten.  But in fact, since I buy about six weeks worth of food for that amount, my true monthly costs are much closer to $400.  And every single month, though I’m spending the same $600, the pantry is getting a little more full.   

The reason this suddenly hit me is that today is the day that I re-start my monthly budget, and I’m not planning to do my main shopping for another couple of weeks.  I did do some quick supplementary shopping, though, and got about $110 of chicken and veggies today (in addition to chicken for the next couple of weeks for Shabbos, it included a case of chicken wings, almost 35 lb, that I’m putting aside for meals during chol hamoed Pesach – bbq wings make a tasty and inexpensive meal), and am well set for another couple of weeks. 

Actually, I realized, I’m set for more than that.  When I buy chicken, fruits, or vegetables that end up being canned or dehydrated, since that money has been spent in that given month, I consider them as consumed.  But in actuality, they usually aren’t used for weeks or even months.  A case in point is the beef that I’m using for this week’s beef stew – I canned a lot of it after Sukkos.  That money was spent long ago but I’ll enjoy the benefits now.  The same thing with all of the ingredients that I’m using for almost everything else in my weekly menu plan – I don’t have to go out and buy anything.  We have cottage cheese, cheese, and butter in the freezer; bulk oatmeal, wheat, cornmeal and sweeteners for baking; potatoes, yams, and eggs bought by the case last month; dried beans bought on sale.     

This is something that everyone can (and should) do – make it your personal challenge to make your budget for four weeks last for five.  It will probably mean choosing cheaper alternatives to some of what you currently are buying, until you get stocked up.  But you’ll find it paying off as you find you can go longer periods of time between shopping trips, and are able to spend less on groceries while the quality of your diet stays the same or even improves.

You know, with the wiggle room this creates in my food budget, I could start buying more expensive cuts of meat or stop paying attention to the unit pricing of items I buy.  I could buy more processed food so I spend less time in the kitchen. But why would I do that?  My careful spending isn’t motivated by a lack of money (most people seem to assume that frugality is a strategy taken on out of financial desperation), but in the desire to be as responsible as I can with the means that I have. 

It’s sad to me that some people assume that someone who spends the amount I do must be giving up quality or quantity – you know, “Well, I buy healthy foods and they cost so much more, and she would have to spend a lot more, too, if she cared about nutrition,” or “We like to enjoy our food, and her kids must be deprived to eat such a cheap diet.”  It makes no difference to me how much people spend, as long as they can afford it and they have peace of mind, but I sometimes wonder if people want to think that those who spend much less than they do are deprived or off balanced, so that they can continue to justify their spending habits as essential.  I haven’t had to give up anything to shop for food the way that I do (except unnecessary time and energy!).  In fact, I buy a lot of things that many people would consider luxuries (for example, coconut/palm oils, honey/agave/sucanat – no cheap oils or sugar), and we’re able to eat a very healthy and abundant diet that we all enjoy. It’s shopping carefully that makes room in the budget for items that could otherwise be considered luxuries.

It’s so much more fun to see how we’re the ones who have the power to learn new strategies.  It’s a fun challenge to make meals we love and simultaneously keep my food bills low!

Avivah

Weekly menu plan

Here’s this week menu:

Sunday – breakfast – was supposed to be pancakes; lunch – whole wheat rolls, hummous, fresh peas, baby carrots; dinner – cholent, kasha, sauteed green beans, sweet potato pudding

Monday – b – oatmeal, milk, bananas; l – bread pudding; d – thick chicken-vegetable-noodle soup

Tuesday  – b – leftover oatmeal bread, homemade jam; l – cauliflower rice/cheese casserole; d – beef stew

Wednesday – b – buttermilk biscuits, eggs; l – fish, baked yams; d – black bean soup, cornbread

Thursday – b – hot rice with milk; l – leftovers (probably bean soup and cornbread, but whatever else we have, too); d – lasagna

We’ll supplement lunch and dinner meals with the veggies we have on hand.  Today I ground up a lot of wheat berries, and will put the flour in the freezer for the  oatmeal bread, and biscuits.  I cooked a large pot of rice for the casserole and breakfast on Thursday.  I’m using the beef that I canned way back around Sukkos time for the first time for the stew, and I’ll be using up some pasta for the lasagna and noodles for tonight’s soup, and the base of the chicken soup will be some very rich broth that I made at the end of last week.   I think we’ll make banana crumb muffins for Shabbos morning breakfast, using the discounted bananas I bought this morning for .19 lb (yes, I bought all that they had :)).

Avivah