Challah and Bread: Challah is the one item that most women have attempted at least once. Unfortunately, as we do not have the culinary skills that were once our birthright, the dough often flops and women give up. To that I say, try again! Do some more research. Patience is a scarce virtue in our generation, but it can be developed. I have tried so many challah recipes until I found a great one that satisfies me (no sugar) and my husband (I use only white flour to appease his palate). But once you find a good challah recipe, why stop at making it only for Shabbos? Use leftover dough or a second batch to create smaller rolls that can be used during the week for sandwiches and toast. You can differentiate between challah bread and weekday bread by making the weekday bread less rich and a different shape. For those of you who like fresh bread, most bread machines have overnight options, where the ingredients go in at night, and fresh bread comes out in the morning. I know, very cool.
Sushi: Over a year ago, I went to a class where I learned how to make sushi. I was shocked at how easy and cheap it was to make this expensive delicacy myself. I stocked up on a bamboo mat, nori seaweed sheets, brown sushi rice, fresh ginger, wasabi and never looked back. When I make the sushi for my family, I can’t make the rolls fast enough. Even my husband loves it, and let me tell you, he will never willingly eat brown rice otherwise. To learn how to make it, a quick Google search and/or YouTube video will show you the way.
Container Vegetables: Many people arequite successful at growing their own vegetables; some are even able to give produce away. That’s not my story. When my second child was born, my husband planted sunflower seeds for me as a baby present (I know, he’s the sweetest), sparking my own personal green revolution. That was four years ago, and I have successfully killed any green thing that has crossed my path, including bamboo shoots which is quite the accomplishment. But I have not given up yet. The idea of growing my own vegetables is a dream that I strongly feel can be achieved. This year, I intend on growing tomatoes and peppers. So far, they are growing quite nicely on my kitchen counter. Bli ayin hara, I will let you know how much produce I will actually pick, but here’s to hoping!
Other things I want to attempt to make are yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, and I’d like to wash and set my wigs. I haven’t been successful yet, but here’s the trick: I will try again, more slowly this time, and actually follow the directions.
Take one thing you normally send out or pick up, and see if you can’t do it yourself with minimal fuss. Then, after a month, calculate how much money and hassle you saved, taking a minute to pat yourself on the back and brag to your nearest and dearest, and consider if you can’t do one more thing. Before you know it, you will be a DIY aficionado, and you too will say to your husband as you study the peeling wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom, “Can’t we renovate this ourselves?”
And really, why shouldn’t you? As you and I both know, nobody else will do it as well.Pnina Baim
About the Author: Pnina Baim is the author of the Young Adult novels, “Choices,” “A Life Worth Living,” and a how-to book for the Orthodox homemaker, “Sing While You Work.” The books are available at amazon.com.
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