Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oh Passover! Oh Passover! How Soon You are Approaching!

Oh ... Passover! Pesach! The feast of unleavened bread! The week of pained colon! So on, and so forth. 'Tis the season, folks, are you fully prepared?

I'll just say that I'm not. Period. I bought some stuff to exist as Passover-specific, and I'm planning on taking a bucket-load of things to be kashered tomorrow -- pots, pans, and other bigger items that I can't kasher on my stovetop. But beyond that? I haven't started cleaning and the amount of kosher l'pesach products I've purchased is relegated to some jam, some of the Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzos (which don't fulfill the mitzvah for the seder), and a few other things. I'm trying to buy as little as humanly possible for Passover, largely because over the past three years the volume of things that I had in my dating and married life sort of horrifies me now. When I was married, we had two homes and each of those homes had three sets of everything for everything. We had Meat, Dairy, Parve and Passover Meat, Dairy Parve. Among two homes, that amounted to twelve sets of things. Of course, the Parve weren't full sets, but otherwise, we had it. It was just too much. So I'm going minimalist this year.

Thus, tomorrow, it being the kashering day, also is going to be the "start the cleaning" day. I've got a kosher l'pesach Smoothie Maker for all of my liquid-diet needs, and I'm planning on doing a lot of salads and eggs.

And on that note, I'm also going Sephardic. That means I plan on digging through piles of rice to get all the bad things out, so that come Friday night, I have clean, kosher-for-Passover rice. I probably won't delve too much into beans, but I do plan on having quinoa around. Flax Seed also is a friend of mine, so you can expect that will be in the diet plan, too. Also? I was elated to find out there are certain brands of Rice and Almond milk that are good for Passover (for Sephardim) WITHOUT certification. Color me stoked! (Find the Sephardic kosher-for-Passover products list here.)

Luckily, I have a pantry that I can simply close off, and I plan on taping off all of my cabinets, too. This is going to be live-on-the-counter Passover.
The reality, lucky for me, is that there really isn't any chametz in my home to begin with. The only thing that is chametz are the gluten-free oats that I have. Otherwise, this is a 24/7/365-chametz-free zone. Does that mean any less cleaning? Nope. Oats are chametz, and thus hardcore cleaning is a must.

I'm also one of those people who always ascribed to the idea that on Passover, a house should be completely clean of chametz. You have plenty of warning, you know when Passover is, so eat all of your bread and cereal beforehand. I've never bought into this whole "sell your chametz" thing. It just seems like a cheap copout. But this year? Well, the gluten-free oats that I have are from Trader Joe's, and I have an entire unopened bag of them. There are no Trader Joe's near here, and the other gluten-free oats I can purchase are hella expensive. So I'm being that person this year: I'm keeping my oats, locking them away, and feeling like a hypocrite.

In addition, I'm planning to do a hardcore car-cleaning scrub down this week. We all eat in our cars, we can't lie about it. Whether it's a snack or a coffee or a nosh, we do it. I have, without a doubt, eaten some delicious oat-based granola bars in my car, and that's chametz, so I'm going to vacuum the heck out of my car. Plus, it's a good time for Spring Cleaning, so why not?

But I have a week to do all of this. I really need to do a bit of meal-planning so that I have everything I need once Friday attacks. I have plans for both of the seders, yet no plans for the last days of Passover. In between, I plan on my staples of Matzo + Cream Cheese + Jam for snacking and lots of smoothies and raw foods for meals. Still, it's going to be a rough week as a Gluten-Free Vegetarian. I might have to cave and rock out some fish this week.

If you're in a last-minute rush and need some help with finding a seder, figuring out the rules and regulations, or are looking for some gnarly recipes, here are some helpful resources!
  • | Yes, it's run by Chabad. They own the domain. I think this is impressive! Their website has everything from the blessings to a bounty of recipes that will leave you giggling with joy. I highly recommend the Lemon Ice Cream. Also, they have a calendar to keep you on track with what you're supposed to do when. Print it out, and abide!
  • Vegetarian Times Super Seder | If you're like me, you're looking for filling, protein-packed vegetarian meals. These recipes sound delish!
  • Oranges + Seder Plates | If you're curious what the history is, read my post on it
  • Unconverted at the Seder Table? | Yeah, it came up once. It's an interesting thing to consider. Then again, we're supposed to have strangers at our table!
  • | It is what it is. A seder-plate full of recipes!
  • The Orthodox Union | They have everything you could need up -- a sefirat ha'omer chart, a guide to foods, and more. Check out their digital magazine here
Have any questions you think I can answer? Just let me know!