Wow, my London broil is still not in the oven yet, but I actually have enough of my act together this year to have set the table in advance! (Any of my former holiday guests who might be reading this will know that this is a Rosh Hashana miracle.) We are eating out most of our meals with friends this YomTov, and we're only having one (lunch) meal at home with guests. I decided to go uber-traditional and break out the silver chargers that we got when we got married. Whatcha think? (Yes, those are Ikea beer glasses though.)
I was looking over last year's YomTov roundup post, and I realize that I am still doing much of what I recommended last year...so forgive me if I recycle last year's post and update it with a few more tips from this year. Here's a potpourri of my own personal assorted ideas for Rosh Hashana and Sukkot.
First, a coupla coupons:
- Last year, I stole an idea from an old Susie Fishbein cookbook: on Rosh Hashana, put out a honey-tasting platter (the one pictured above is last year's). Different types of honey taste very different. Wildflower honey has a different flavor from clover honey (the most common), manuka honey, blackberry honey, buckwheat blossom honey, and acacia honey. You can pick all these different types of honey up from stores like Whole Foods, Vitamin Cottage, Sprouts, or sometimes even your regular supermarket. Get creative with your honey serving dishes. Last year, I used little cordial glasses that I got from Pier One. A friend of mine uses assorted brightly colored ceramic jars. Another one uses maple syrup dispensers. One year, I hollowed out a bunch of nicely shaped apples and used them as honey dishes. Just remember that you're not restricted to the ungapatchkit silver honey dish that you got as a wedding present from Aunt Ida. (This year, since I'm using a lot of silver in my table settings, I might just use those ungapatchkit silver honey dishes though.)
- Levana's (downloadable) Rosh Hashana menus (still available if you're still cooking).
- Excellent honey-chicken recipe from Jason & Yael.
- The apple-stuffed challah that I made with Rhodes dough (you can adapt it to your own homemade dough if you prefer).
- Need easy dessert ideas? Honey cake is a classic, or you can opt for pareve vanilla ice cream topped with diced apples and pomegranates seeds or drizzled lightly with honey. You can throw pomegranate seeds into any green salad for a nice twist. I made carrot cake this year, and I'm going to throw some chopped dates on top of the frosting.
- How to Dip Your Apple in the Honey. Crucial instructions. Please view.
- You are going to be serving a LOT of meals over the next few weeks with a bunch of guests. Keep a running list of your friends with special foods needs on your computer. We have vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, diabetic, carb-free, pescatarian, nut-allergic, etc., friends in Colorado, and it's super-awkward when you find out these needs when your guests are sitting at your YomTov table and not eating anything. (Flashback to a Sukkot meal about six years ago when I had three surprise vegetarian guests who couldn't even eat my green salad because it contained shredded chicken...what a nightmare.) Ask your guests about any special foods needs they and their families might have when you invite them and record the information in a permanent file on your computer so that you'll have it the next time you invite them over.
- Frugal themed tablecloths
- 160-piece Reflections silverware for $15.59. The price is still holding!
- Keep the bees out of your Sukkah for $8.07.
- Cool and inexpensive honey dishes. I know this is really a RH link, but the honey keeps flowing through Sukkot, so...
- Sukkah keepsake box for $14.73.
- Gluten-free honey treats (promo code will work through the end of Sukkot)
- I've seen this in almost every Colorado sukkah I've been in, but not in NewYork sukkahs, so I wonder if this is an "out-of-town" thing. Instead of a single ugly outdoor lightbulb hanging down the middle of your schach, hang up strings and strings of white outdoor Christmas lights. It looks beautiful at night. Of course, the best time to buy
ChristmasSukkot string lights is the week after Christmas, but you already knew that.
- Snag this 8-foot folding table from Home Depot for $89 with free shipping! Today, 9/16/12 only.
- A few years before I got married, (after some misadventures in trying to make esrog jam) I started collecting etrogim after Sukkot. I would just put them around the living room in various bowls, but I finally gathered them together in one big bowl (see photo above) and eventually, they would dry and harden and take on interesting colors and textures. I have a bunch of them now, mostly from my husband, but a few from my father, z"l, from years gone by. (It gives me a nice feeling to know that I have some things that my dear father once used for a mitzvah.) If you choose some interesting bowls, they make for creative centerpieces on your YomTov table in the Sukkah.
Last year, I also copycatted Daily Cheapskate reader Daniella's idea. Daniella wrote in last year telling me that she keeps her husband's lulavs from year to year (just the lulav part, not the hadassim or arovot). She dries them and groups them all together in a large floor vase. Apparently. when they are very dry, the fronds separate and the effect is lovely. Well, thanks, Daniella, I gathered up two dried lulavs from last year (see picture above). I need some more to get the full effect, but you are right, they are pretty and unusual. What a great idea!
- This is an idea that I stole from my very creative artist sister-in-law, Ellen Filreis. Since you can transfer flame on YomTov, buy an inexpensive candle chandelier and fill it with safe tealights or citronella candles (which will help keep away mosquitos) and light it at night for some wonderful dinner ambience. This is the $16 one that I purchased three years ago. Here are some more that you might want to have a look at.
- Raid the Walmart crafts section and buy yards and yards of those "silk" floral and leaf chains and hang them all over your Sukkah. They are colorful and pretty, ridiculously cheap, aren't hurt by the rain, and when they get dirty, you can just hose them off. You can also get them Hobby Lobby or Michaels.
- Are you intimidated by the idea of making stuffed cabbage? I'm going to break it down for you. Take your favorite Swedish meatball recipe meat mixture, add a cup of cooked rice and serve the mixture wrapped in green cabbage that has been softened either by boiling or by putting it in the freezer. Boil your cabbage "packets" in a large pot full of tomato sauce, with a 1/2 cup of brown sugar, a can of cranberry sauce and a handful of raisins. I do this every year, and it's super-easy and delicious. After the stuffed cabbbage is cooked, you can freeze it in aluminum pans, a reheat it in the oven. If you're on a healthy kick, use brown rice instead of white rice; you won't even notice the taste difference.
- The best time to buy Sukkot decorations is the week after Sukkot. Load up on half-price or heavily reduced Sukkot decor when they go on clearance at your favorite Judaica stores. If you live near an Amazing Savings, (oh, how I long for an Amazing Savings in Denver) stock up on their incredible 99-cent Sukkot decorations. Last time I was in New York, I bought two dozen of these and stockpiled them to replace torn and ruined decorations from year to year.
Chag sameach and shana tova to all my wonderful Daily Cheapskate readers!