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Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Archive for the tag “pesach mission”

Pesach Mission #10: The after party

Yes, Pesach is over, but our work is not done.  Now is the time to sit with our lists and adjust for next year.

  • Did you run out of KLP cereal in the middle of the week?  Write down to buy more next year.
  • How many eggs and how much matzah did you really use?  Mark it down.
  • Did your food processor finally break down?  Make a note to buy one during the year- not at the last minute when you are stressed.
  • If you don’t have a master shopping list, type up the one you used this year and put it in a file to print out next year (or use the list on the Organizational Tools page).
  • If a new recipe was a keeper, write that on the recipe.  If a recipe didn’t make the grade, throw it out now.  There is nothing more frustrating than having four chocolate chip cookie recipes and not knowing which one tasted great and which one bombed.
  • If you save foods from year to year, don’t forget to write on your master shopping list not to buy them next year!

Don’t procrastinate- this is essential for proper planning and to help save money next year!

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Pesach mission #1- Clean out your pantry now!

Today is Shushan Purim- the unofficial start to Pesach preparations.

Your counters are full of mishloach manot, and you know you won’t be able to eat all of it before Pesach.  Your mission today is to empty out ALL of the food from your pantry.  Separate the food and the mishloach manot into 4 boxes:

  1. Chametz gamur- actual chametz
  2. KLP items (with hashgacha)
  3. Food your family doesn’t like or won’t eat
  4. Food that is not KLP and not chametz gamur

Chametz gamur and food your family doesn’t like or won’t eat:

If you are like me, there is an astronomical amount of food in this box.  Take a serious look at that food- will you really eat it within 4 weeks?  Don’t forget the food in your refrigerator and freezer!  If your minhag is not to sell chametz gamur, donate all that food TODAY.    Likewise, don’t save food that you know you won’t use- give it to someone who will.

KLP items with hashgacha:

One of the advantages of living in Israel is that many everyday items already have KLP hashgacha.  I am sure you noticed that almost all of the chips that came out for Purim this year were KLP already (with or without kitniyot). Some of the items I found in my pantry include:

  • Starkist tuna (kitniyot)
  • Yavneh pickles in brine
  • Kniah Chachama olive rings (produced by Yavneh)
  • Yachin pizza sauce
  • Yachin canned corn (kitniyot)
  • Shufersal crushed tomatoes
  • Mega dates
  • Wili Foods fruit cocktail
  • Wiliger tuna (kitniyot)
  • 7Up

All of these items can be crossed off your master Pesach shopping list.  You do have a shopping list, right?  This is THE most essential item to save money.  If you do not have one, take out all of your standard Pesach recipes (don’t forget seder items) and create a master shopping list, including amounts needed.  You will adjust the quantities during your Pesach post-mortem.  Keep this list accessible all year round so you can purchase items during the year when there are sales.  You can find a sample list and more on my organizational tools page.

Clean out a now-empty cabinet or two for these Pesach items.  Keep watching the sales and fill up these cabinets at your leisure. I will post Pesach sale items when I see them.

Food that is not KLP and not chametz gamur:

Clean out-of-the-way closets and put these items back in.  If you use them before Pesach, great.  If not, they are all ready to be locked away for Pesach.

Now sit back and enjoy the progress you have made- you deserve it!

Click here to read Pesach mission #2- Lists

 

Pesach Mission #9: The children are not the Passover sacrifice!

That is a quote from Rav Aviner that really stuck with me.  What have our kids learned from this past week of vacation?  Is Pesach a fun holiday for them or a burden?  Are their parents spending quality time with them or are they constantly yelling?  I grew up dreading Pesach because of all the back-breaking work involved.  My oldest daughter, however, once told me that Pesach is her favorite holiday.  Why?  Because of all the fun things we do TOGETHER.   That is when I realized that I was able to break the chain of suffering.  I remember a woman wrote into a forum I belonged to saying that she broke her leg a few weeks before Pesach and was having 30 people at her seder.  She was distraught that she won’t be able to get everything done in time.  Several women offered time-saving tips, but one or two wrote in to say that she is not in Egypt anymore- she needs to tell her guests that it either has to be at someone else’s house, pot luck, or catered (with everyone contributing to the bill).  It was the merit of the women in Egypt who didn’t give up on their Judaism that saved the Jewish people.   By continuing the cycle of suffering before Pesach, we are showing our children that Judaism is pain and suffering, not joy and togetherness.  It is time for a change.

What can we do with our children to help them enjoy these last few days of preparation?  Give them tasks that are fun but useful and will make them feel important when they are at the seder table.

1.  Decorations – kids of all ages can make pictures of yetziat mitzrayim, plastelina sculptures of the four sons or the ten plagues, pyramids, etc.  One year we took haroset seriously and used it to build actual pyramids with matzot for walls.  They can make “chametz” and “KLP” signs for the cabinets and around the house.   One year we bought plain napkin holders and decorated them with ribbons, fake flowers, and glitter. Take a half hour in the arts and crafts store near you and you can have several hours of fun activities for them.

2. Cooking – are there foods the kids enjoy making?  I have one who makes jello, one who makes charoset.  One likes to arrange the desserts on a platter.  Find easy foods for them to make and let them help.  Believe me, you will get more oohs and ahhs from your guests when you say your 6 year old arranged the platter than if you did it!

3. Activities-how is your seder run?  Fast/slow?  Commentary/singing/divrei torah?  Don’t be afraid to add a little fun to the seder.  The plague bags on the Organizational Tools page never fails to bring a laugh to the young and old.  This year we are adding games for older children.  Some of our favorites include: Pesach Jeopardy by Rafi and Adina Goldreich as well as Grab Bag, Taboo, and more at Simchat Yechiel.  We are going to try a Pesach Cranium game this year and “Guess the true Pesach story”  by Rabbi Robert Scheinberg.  We have a tradition of dressing in costume for the seder which makes it livelier (and puts less pressure on keeping the outfits clean).  Another (Sephardic) tradition of ours is that we give each child a pillowcase with matzah in it and they go around the table re-enacting yetziat mitzrayim.  Each child goes to one of the adults who asks them “Where are you coming from?” The child answers “Mitzrayim”.  The adult then asks, “Where are you going to?” and the child answers “Yerushalayim.”  The adult then asks, “What are you taking with you?” and the child answers, “Matzah (or unleavened bread).”  This is a good ice breaker for the kids if there are a lot of guests and helps get their nervous energy out.  For more information on Sephardic Pesach  customs, click here.   Have the children prepare the activities listed above for the seder or they can make their own- word search (tifzoret), pitzuchim (A-Z Pesach) and more.  They can make up ice-breaker questions such as “What was the oldest piece of chametz you found?”  Assign one of the children to hide frogs in various places (the washing cup, under napkins, etc.) for a little surprise.

Some of you may feel that these ideas aren’t appropriate for the seder, especially in Israel where we have only one chance to “do it right”.  I personally think that we will have plenty of time in the future to be serious; when the kids are young is the time to laugh and do what it takes to keep them at the table.  If you disagree, however, feel free to play these games during the day, on chol hamoed, or on the last day.  They are still fun.

Pesach Mission #6: Linen Closet

Since we have all of our cleaning supplies and we know how many guests we will be having, it is time to tackle the linen closet.

NOTE: This mission, as well as future missions, describe an in-depth cleaning and purging. This is more than a cleaning for chametz and should not be construed as necessary preparations for Pesach. Dust is not chametz! Clean according to your comfort level.

Look at your closet- is it overstuffed? Very messy and disorganized?

  • Take everything out and arrange the sheets into sets- sheets, pillowcase, and towel and fold them together. Create as many sets as you will need for the holidays.
  •  If your youngest child is 15, purge those Little Mermaid sheets!
  •  Turn any worn-out towels into rags.
  • We keep all of our coolers and camping equipment here- if you do as well, clean it out and get it ready for Pesach.

Hopefully you have a little extra space now- enjoy!

Click here for Pesach Mission #7: Anti-Procrastination Day!

Pesach Mission #5: Cleaning Supplies

Today we need to pull out our cleaning supplies and assess what we need.

This is my list of essential cleaning supplies:

  • Floor cleaner
  • General spray cleaner
  • Bleach (I hate using it but it is the only thing that cleans the stains in my house)
  • Window cleaner
  • Anti-avnit cleaner- if you can get 50% vinegar, this works wonders.
  • Rags
  • Paper towels
  • Magic erasers
  • Steel wool (for our stainless steel pots we kasher)
  • Cream cleaner
  • Oven cleaner
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Junky comfortable clothes to clean in
  • iPod and upbeat music to motivate you (check out some free downloads here,  here or here)

If you use vinegar and baking soda, you don’t need to purchase many of these items. There are some good recipes here and here.

Now that all of your supplies are in order, you can guess what will be in the next mission!

Ready for the next mission?  Go to Pesach mission #6: Linen closet

Pesach Mission #4: Guests

Today we are going to make our holiday guest list.

  • Are you having people stay over for the holiday?
  • Are you going away?
  • How many people will be at your seder?
  • Any dietary restrictions?

This list is essential for the next stages of Pesach prep- don’t procrastinate!

 

Ready for Pesach Mission #5: Cleaning Supplies? Click here!

Pesach mission #1: Clean out your pantry NOW!

Today is Shushan Purim- the unofficial start to Pesach preparations.

Your counters are full of mishloach manot, and you know you won’t be able to eat all of it before Pesach.  Your mission today is to empty out ALL of the food from your pantry.  Separate the food and the mishloach manot into 4 boxes:

  1. Chametz gamur- actual chametz
  2. KLP items (with hashgacha)
  3. Food your family doesn’t like or won’t eat
  4. Food that is not KLP and not chametz gamur

Chametz gamur and food your family doesn’t like or won’t eat:

If you are like me, there is an astronomical amount of food in this box.  Take a serious look at that food- will you really eat it within 4 weeks?  Don’t forget the food in your refrigerator and freezer!  If your minhag is not to sell chametz gamur, donate all that food TODAY.    Likewise, don’t save food that you know you won’t use- give it to someone who will.

KLP items with hashgacha:

One of the advantages of living in Israel is that many everyday items already have KLP hashgacha.  I am sure you noticed that almost all of the chips that came out for Purim this year were KLP already (with or without kitniyot). Some of the items I found in my pantry include:

  • Starkist tuna (kitniyot)
  • Yavneh pickles in brine
  • Shufersal pickles in brine
  • Yachin pizza sauce
  • Yachin canned corn (kitniyot)
  • Shufersal crushed tomatoes
  • Mega dates
  • Wili Foods fruit cocktail
  • Wiliger tuna (kitniyot)
  • Pepsi MAX

All of these items can be crossed off your master Pesach shopping list.  You do have a shopping list, right?  This is THE most essential item to save money.  If you do not have one, take out all of your standard Pesach recipes (don’t forget seder items) and create a master shopping list, including amounts needed.  You will adjust the quantities during your Pesach post-mortem.  Keep this list accessible all year round so you can purchase items during the year when there are sales.

Clean out a now-empty cabinet or two for these Pesach items.  Keep watching the sales and fill up these cabinets at your leisure. I will post Pesach sale items when I see them.

Food that is not KLP and not chametz gamur:

Clean out-of-the-way closets and put these items back in.  If you use them before Pesach, great.  If not, they are all ready to be locked away for Pesach.

Now sit back and enjoy the progress you have made- you deserve it!

Click here to read Pesach mission #2- Lists

A Happy Little Purim (Pesach Mission #0)

Tomorrow is Purim Katan and Yom Ahava- also known as Valentine’s Day.  That calls for a celebration!

Normally I start the pre-Pesach missions on Shushan Purim.  This year we have an extra month to prepare and be relaxed about it.  I especially need the extra time this year- I will be out of the country for a week in March and have a big project due around that time.

The point of the Pesach missions are to help you get organized.  How does being organized save money?  By being organized, you are prepared.  If you are prepared, you can purchase Pesach foods when prices are low and you have time to cook healthy food instead of running out and buying expensive takeaway.

Back to the mission.  Your Purim Katan mission is to open your closets, refrigerators and freezers.  Take an inventory of your chametz.  If you don’t already have a theme for your mishloach manot, see if you can come up with one based on the chametz you have in your house.  If you have a lot of flour, you can make mini challot or muffins.  Too much cereal?  Buy a nice bowl, put cereal in a bag into the bowl, add a spoon and a small carton of UHT milk for a cute kids snack.  For some reason, I have a lot of falafel mix in the house, so a good mishloach manot would be homemade pita, falafel, chumus, a tomato and a cucumber.  The point is not to shove your chametz onto someone else but to take what you have and make it worthy of a gift.  

You might notice that my suggestions don’t include junk food.  We really don’t need it and if you have kids, you will get and give  plenty anyway.  I don’t know about you, but I am running around like crazy doing all the things we do on Purim and I never have time to make a quick healthy meal.  Therefore I am  grateful when someone gives me a mishloach manot like the ones listed above (which are all real gifts I received over the years).  If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!  For more ideas, check out Kosher on a Budget’s list of 101 Mishloach Manot Ideas.

One final remark: Now is the time that all of the regular products that you buy will start having KLP hashgacha on them and  NOW is the time to buy these items- when they are cheap and/or on sale. For example, these are the products I bought on sale this week from Shufersal that are KLP (products labeled as having kitniyot have a K):

  • Beit HaShita pickles
  • Shufersal Apple Nectar
  • Heirloom Farms baby corn (K)
  • Green Giant canned corn (K)
  • Starkist tuna, several varieties (K)
  • Sanfrost frozen broccoli
  • Shufersal frozen Brussels sprouts
  • Shufersal extra fine frozen peas (K)

In addition, most (if not all) packaged fresh meat is already KLP.

Those who do not eat kitniyot will have a much harder time finding  KLP products early, just as you do right before Pesach.  It seems that the companies prefer to write that there might be kitniyot because it is easier than ensuring they don’t.  If you always wanted to be Sephardi, are not too attached to the kitniyot tradition or are just curious, I recommend you check out the Kitniyot Liberation Front Facebook pageblog and articles written about them.  Their argument is more about Jewish unity and less about kitniyot.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there are only 8 1/2 weeks until Pesach.  Now is also the time to STOP buying chametz that you won’t use up in 7-8 weeks.  If you plan your dinners in advance,  figure out when to serve those 8 packages of corn shnitzel or 12 bags of pasta.  If you can’t do it without a revolution on your hands, donate the extras now.

If you can’t wait until Shushan Purim for the first mission, click here.

Pesach Mission #7: Anti-Procrastination Day!

We have been going pretty slowly up until now, and now we have no choice but to plunge right in.  Tackle a big room and just do it!

FlyLady’s web site has a great method for cleaning rooms- each area of the house is divided into five zones.

Click here to learn about FlyLady’s method for decluttering.

Click here for a Detailed Cleaning List for each zone.

NOTE:  If you are NOT doing spring cleaning with your Pesach cleaning, here are two great checklists which will have you finished in a day:

HaRav Aviner’s list

Out of the Ortho Box’s list

Ready for the next mission? Go to Pesach mission #8: Smell the flowers

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