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How do you know when you’re done? Not done with eating, mind you, but done having kids? I thought I knew. I participated in a week-long Positive Psychology workshop last summer and spent the majority of my time digging deep and reflecting on the fact that I thought I was done. Gd had blessed me with two incredible children and that’s it. Leave the party while it’s not only good but great. I spent the many months since that workshop giving away all of our baby gear to various friends and colleagues who were not done and needed the support. “Put it to good use”, I thought, “cause I don’t need it anymore”. But then something happened (as it always does). My father-in-law died and I turned 37. Suddenly I found myself wrestling with my own mortality and with that, the questioning of whether or not I was really ready to close this chapter in my life.

My arguments for not having a third have always been the same: With the life we lead (the expenses of daycare costs, being a working-parent household, wanting to live an observant/kosher Jewish life), we can give two kids a great life but three kids? Three kids would be tough. Plus, I don’t know what you do for a living but I spend a lot of my day talking with adolescents with mental and developmental health struggles so that coupled with the statistics of giving birth after 35 (i.e. the rise of potential of certain developmental delays), I’m frikkin’ freaked. Again, Gd has blessed us with two healthy, developmentally-abled children. LEAVE THE PARTY WHILE IT’S GREAT. But what if it could be greater?

I still have no answer. We are in conversations, clearly. With baby one and two, we were closed up about our family planning but with the potential of baby three I’ve basically been polling everyone I know (and don’t know) on what their thoughts are on how many kids I should have. Yes, that means I sometimes accost strangers in the grocery store with awkward, inappropriate questions like, “Excuse me, hi, you don’t know me but, you have lots of kids. How’s that working out?”

That’s totally normal . . . right? HELP!

 

So since motherhoood and parenting has been constantly on my mind, I made y’all a Mother’s Day breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner recipe using some of my favorite ingredients. If you don’t know what malawach is you can read about it and get the recipe for this quick yet super fancy meal over at Interfaithfamily.com. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

Would not be able to parent without my besties!

 

Supporting our friends, Bear and Bud Bookclub, at the Babyccino event in LA last weekend.

 

 

 

Hello and happy Passover! I hope everyone had wonderful Sedarim. We went low-key this year as it’s been a tough couple weeks. Unfortunately, my husband lost his beloved father to cancer the week before Passover. He had been sick for only a handful of months and, as cancer tends to do, it took him quickly. We are still in shock, even a week after his funeral. I flew to Jersey for a quick and emotional 48 hours in order to be with the family as we said our final good-byes. While I lost my grandparents at a relatively older age, this is the closest I’ve come to losing a parent and I’d like to not do it again, thank you very much.

 

 

My husband was gone for a total of 2 weeks prior to Passover and while it was tough to go through all of that with the two kids at home, I gotta say, I continue to be overwhelmed by the support of friends and the community we’ve made here in Los Angeles. People sent food and prayers and showed up at 8am on a Sunday morning for the shiva in order to stand by Yonz and I as we ended the shiva week. It’s amazing how truly wonderful people can be when you ask for help (and accept it).

Now, about this recipe. It wasn’t until I went to Teaneck and had my first Passover at my would-be in-law’s house that I had my first matzah lasagna. When I saw my mother-in-law making it I was like, “ummm, matzah soaked in water and then baked with sauce and cheese? Hard pass”. But then I took a bite and I became a believer. Since then, matzah lasagna has been on our Passover table at least once every year. I pair it with some baked salmon and a spring green salad to help off-set the immense cheesy-ness of it and I have to say, it’s a delightful little lunch (if I do say so myself). Pay attention to the directions below. You do need to soak but not for too long as it will turn into mush if it’s soaked for too long. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Roasted Eggplant Matzah Lasagna

2 large eggs

1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese

1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp kosher salt

1/2 tbsp ground black pepper

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1 jar of marinara sauce or 3 cups of homemade sauce

8 standard sheets of matzoh

1 eggplant, roasted (<— click for roasted eggplant recipe)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Fill a baking dish with about an inch of room temp. water and set aside.

In a medium bowl beat the eggs then and add 2 Tablespoons Parmesan, ricotta and 3/4 cup of mozzarella. Next, add the spices and combine well.

Spread ½ cup of sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish,

Soak 1 sheet of matzah in the water for about 30 seconds in order to soften (note: You might need to soak 2 matzah slices or 1 1/2 as matzah never seems to be fully the right size for a lasagna baking dish. Just make sure your matzah covers the majority of the length and width of the baking dish). It’s important that you not let it soak for longer than 30 seconds, you don’t want it to fall apart or become mush. Place the soaked sheet of matzah in the baking dish.

Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture on top of the matzoh. Spread ¼ cup sauce on top of the ricotta and then at least 4 slices of roasted eggplant. And sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Soak the second sheet of matzah for 30 seconds and place in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining ricotta, ¼ cup sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella.

Soak the last piece of matzah for 30 seconds and place in the baking dish. Spread with ¼ cup sauce (or more) and top with a few slices of roasted eggplant. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and a tablespoon of grated Parmesan.

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is golden and lasagna is bubbling, about 10 more minutes. If sides are bubbling, but you want the cheese more golden quickly, stick it under the broiler for 10-30 seconds.

 

 

I remember sitting at lunch one day at a restaurant on the corner of 3rd and Harper in Los Angeles with my peeps, Keeli and her husband David (hi, Wolkin!) when Keeli ordered a dish I had never heard of before—chilaquiles. When the word left her mouth I was like, “Umm, do what now?”. For a Jewish lady born and raised in Marietta, GA, I had never heard of chilaquiles before. I was a bit embarrassed because I consider myself a pretty ‘with it’ individual, especially when it comes to food, but I had never heard of chilaquiles until that moment. See now, Keeli was born and raised in California so homegirl was aware of all the best SoCal foods. So when the dish was delivered to the table and I realized it was basically a Mexican version of shakshuka (if shakshuka was made with pita chips, which, by the way, we should make happen), I was in.

As with a lot of dishes, chilaquiles varies amongst regions. You can make it with green or red sauce and I chose red for this one though I think a green sauce would be awesome as well. While I made this recipe with a cast iron skillet, you definitely don’t need to though I do recommend a frying pan that can go straight from stove top to oven. The recipe for this can be found on Interfaithfamily.com. Happy Passover!

 

 

 

 

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