Looking for shortcuts

In exactly a week and a half I will be returning to full-time work out of the home for the first time since giving birth to Ella, six years ago. While my husband will be taking on some of the household chores (well, laundry, anyhow) there will be fewer aggregate hours available for the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. And of course, for the children. How will it all get done?
Some jobs will be handled by others. Zoe will attend preschool full time next year, and we will have a housecleaner for 3 hours, twice a month. Some jobs will simply get dropped – fewer hot out of the oven muffins for breakfast and trips to three different grocery stores to find the best deal.
But what role does technology play in all of this? Can a machine ever replace a mom?
I don’t have a definitive answer, but when it comes to home-baked bread, I’d have to say …
It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t great. And I haven’t the foggiest idea how to cut it without destroying the whole loaf.
I guess I’m relieved that I won’t be replaced by R2D2-dak any time soon.

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Miriam Foss

posted August 17, 2009 at 7:24 pm

My suggestions for working and cooking-keep it simple so that you don’t feel the meal is second rate (ie bread that doesn’t taste as good as you are used to.)
Orange meal:
Gazpacho-made the night before
mac and cheese (organic from a box)
carrot sticks
orange sections
Green meal
Spinach pasta with pesto (freeze large batch in small cubes
peas, cucumbers sliced and green grapes for dessert
Keep us posted. We know you’ll make the adjustment with flying colors

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posted August 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Thanks for the advice, Miriam. Got any suggestions for purple night?

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Edible Torah

posted August 17, 2009 at 9:54 pm

We use the bread machine to mix and rise the dough. Then we pull it out, braid it, rise it again and bake it. The nice part is that we can load the machine in the morning and set the timer so that it comes out when we are ready for it.
I’ve got a bread machine challah recipe here:
The only other shortcut ideas we have here relate to doing things more efficiently so that we have more time for the stuff that can’t be delayed, delegated or deleted. Pick and set out cloths the night before. Ditto cereal choices if that’s an issue. Have a morning checklist with the stuff kids have to do (in the order you need them done, if you are particular) so that everyone stays on track. Line up medicine and vitamins the night before.
As for dinner, my wife has found a few tricks that are foolproof even for this fool:
We’ve got one of those vacuum sealers. When meat goes on sale we buy a bunch, premix marinade, and the meat and marinade together and freeze. Then we can defrost during the day and throw it on the grill when we get home. Sealing food also works well for stuff like rice.
Casseroles (including lasagna) are always good solutions for the Dad who burns water. As long as I remember to turn on the oven, something premade can be heated up and isn’t fast- or convenience-food.
Breakfast for dinner. I’m not personally a big fan, but I can’t deny the allure of pancakes and eggs for my kids. Or a bowl of cereal for that matter.
Hope this helps. Sending support your way from Edible Torah country!

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posted August 17, 2009 at 9:58 pm

thanks for the suggestions – i’ll definitely try that challah recipe! i’ve also received a new crockpot, and hope to give that a try-

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posted August 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Hi Amy — we met you at the Shabbat Under the Sky last week — I said that you looked familiar & then realized that I follow your blog. I made a challah from the bread machine a few years ago for Chanukah and it was fabulous. My husband still talks about it, perhaps I should take that as a hint to do it again. Sadly, the bread machine sits in the closet much more than it makes bread…I’ll have to find the recipe though!

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