Monday, September 24, 2012

Yom Kippur: I Want More

This is a scrappy poem I put together, built on my frustrations about how hard it is to tap into the holiness and opportunity of Yom Kippur when you're a mother of small children. When you complain about not being able to sit for hours in shul (yes, I actually would like to) or mentally prepare for the prayer and immerse yourself in the magnitude of the day, people like to say, "You're a mother, it's hard, that's how it is. You're not alone." I get that, and trust me I love the validation. But, alas, it's also frustrating. When you want more. I would never "trade" my children for anything (duh), but in all honesty, I deeply crave those days when it was just me to take care of and I could go to classes and read and felt totally in tune with spirituality and holidays and...know what I mean? Sorry if this is me being a debbie-downer. But I hope some mamas out there relate! ~ Mimi

Yom Kippur: I Want More

Holiest day of the year
Coming to mock me, have me fear 
The part of me that's not alive
Not quite dead, but not quite there
There to hear the dear sounds of self awakening
And accounting and growing and consciousness

Don't tell me I'm a mama so this is what it is!

Holiest day of the year 
Coming with a telegraph that says 
Get your act together
And stop acting
Listen to what's real
But I am busy and rushed and busy and rushed 
I can't bother to open the mail

Don't tell me I'm a mama so this is acceptable!

Holiest day of the year
Arrives on my doorstep
Comes in uninvited, pushes me aside 
Rustled my belongings and says
I don't care what your life is like
You must feel me before I go
But I am not ready, I am frozen

Don't tell me I'm a mama so this is normal!

Holiest day of the year
Loves me, cares for me, wants to coddle me
Comes with renewal and opportunity 
And yet my hands are not grabbing for its hug
Because all I hear is the lost opportunity and 
How unprepared I am to grab the reigns 
Because I'm busy thinking 

Don't tell me I'm a mama so this will be alright!

The holiest day of the year
Taps me on the shoulder
Whispers to me
Its fine, breathe, calm down
I will wait
I am patient
Just show up
Shed a tear from this poem
That's all I ask
But deep down this will not do
What do you take me for?
I want more
What do you take me for?

Don't tell me I'm a mama so this is will have to do!

The holiest day of the year
And all I have
Is a broken poem
My frustrations and yearnings 
And potential zooming past
Swallowed in the every day tasks 
And a deep wanting for more 

G-d, only You know me
Only You, only You
Only You know me
What do I have to give you?
My thoughts are sloppy
My molecules are thin
My ego is bruised but huge

Don't tell me I'm a mama and it's okay
And this will have to do
When what I want
Is the holiest day of the year 

My want
Is a want
Is a powerful and stirring want
For the holiest day of the year 

And this
Well, this is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement

This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement

This is my exchange, this is my substitute, this is my atonement

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bais Yaakov Cookbook: Recipe + Giveaway!

I'm very excited to be back to the blogosphere with an exciting review+recipe+giveaway! 

Introducing the Bais Yaakov Cookbook! 
Want a cookbook of your own? Hop over to for 20% off + Free Shipping! 
Or enter to **WIN** one by liking LadyMama, finding the post about the cookbook (it's a picture of my 
mocha cake!) and commenting on the photo! (Yep, that simple.)

The new gourmet Bais Yaakov Cookbook features recipes from the Bais Yaakov community (including prominent teachers and Rabbis' wives) but showcase a plethora of both traditional and unconventional recipes that reach beyond that label. In other words, if you're not Bais Yaakov LadyMama, you're still going to want to add this cookbook to your collection! Even if it does open with an extensive history of Sara Scheinirer (which is very eye opening—read it!). 

The cookbook is surprisingly professional for a project that seems rather "heimish" with its community vibe. The pictures are vibrant and colorful, the directions are written very clearly, and the selection is impressive. The collection of over 200 original recipes include new takes on some Jewish favorites as well as some very original ideas to spruce things up (like the Green Bean Mango Salad or Chilled Strawberry Soup with Walnut Crunch!)

A HUGE, unprecedented plus about the Bais Yaakov Cookbook is that it includes a rather extensive overview of Halachic guidelines in the kitchen. All about kashrus laws, dealing with food on Shabbos, checking food for bugs—you name it! Let's just say there were a few things that were good to learn (I guess I can consider myself a Bais Yaakov student now!). 

It also helps that thanks to their "All About Wine," "Meat Guide" (is it done yet?), "All About Fish," "Spices and Herbs," "Shopping for Fruits and Vegetables" and even a "Guide to Cookware" and "Kitchen Gadgets" section (what exactly is a poultry shear?),  I am feeling pretty confident with my cooking know-how. Like I'm feeling uber smart—though I keep having to open the pages to reference and make sure I am not mixing up which foods go best with Chardonnay and Riesling—but thanks to the Bais Yaakov Cookbook, all the info is there!). 

The Bais Yaakov Cookbook is sure to delight and surprise in that they did not shy away from some more ambitious recipes, or what I would usually like to call "Attempts I wil Never Make at Fancy Shmancy." For instance, Mini Vegetable Wonton Flowers or Layered Turtle Cheescake (ya, you gotta buy it to see what I mean!). And the thing is, the directions are so straightforward and the ingredients so normal that I can for the first time say I am not skipping over those more fancy, complex-seeming recipes. Thanks to this cookbook, I might actually put some things on my table that have people thinking I'm a real balabusta. "Like, how on earth did you make this?!" Yep, thank you Bais Yaakov Cookbook! 

For most my readers, and especially right before Yom Kippur, I wanted to share a simple recipe that would be put to good use, namely for breaking the Yom Kippur fast (I always need a good, moist baked good after a day of not eating!). So I attempted the Mocha Cake! I give it a A+++! It's easy to make, moist and has just the right amount of rich chocolatey mocha flavor (and can even be enjoyed with coffee, believe it or not!). Enjoy!

Want a cookbook of your own? Hop over to for 20% off + Free Shipping! Or enter to **WIN** one by liking LadyMama, finding the post about the cookbook (it's a picture of my mocha cake!) and commenting on the photo! (Yep, that simple.)


2 cups all-purpose flours1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa  
2 teasooons baking powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup instant coffee
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For mocha cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally, grease a 12 cup Bundt pan; set aside.
Mix all-purpose flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set
In a large bowl, mix boiling water, coffee, sugar and oil. Mix well until coffee
and sugar is dissolved. Add eggs and vanilla sugar. Mix well. Add flour
mixture to the egg mixture, whisk to combine.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 10
minutes; remove cake from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

For coffee glaze:
Whisk coffee and hot water in a small bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and
oil and mix until smooth, if glaze is too thick, then slowly add more water,
about an 1/8 of a teaspoon at a time. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

Let me know if you try this recipe, would love to hear what you think! And be sure to enter the giveaway for the Bais Yaakov Cookbook simply by commenting on the photo on the LadyMama Facebook page!  

Wishing you and yours an easy and meaningful fast!