Crockpot Wednesday….Beef Stew For the Soul!


I once went to a chiropractor
on arrival in her office
as I laid face down on her table
asked me…
“so…how is your soul today?”
huh? my soul?
well as I stammered and ridiculously answered – “yeah- um- great- thanks”
I remember thinking…
yeah… lady you are really, some- kinda wackadoo…I just have a bad back.
and I never went back.
But for some reason…
many years since I left that weird office visit
I frequently think of her question…
and ask myself…well…
how is…my soul today?
It’s a hard question to answer some days…
and lately…
I have been having a hard time
connecting…with Hashem…one-on-one.
I was what you can call…a little disenfranchised…with it all for a minute there
Yet I have never really lost my faith…just a little peeved…this whole getting my get fiasco…
BUT then there was Hurricane Sandy
and I remembered…
nothing feels better for the soul
doing a little good …for others.
So I jumped on the bandwagon…
concentrated my resources…collected and distributed what I could to those without…
spent a few hours in the trenches of jersey shore…me & my squidge mop
cleaning the muck out of a flooded basement…
hosted a family or two that did not have power…
and cooked…because
in the end …
after each task…
nothing felt as good…
as rewarding…
or tasted as sweet…
then knowing…
you helped a person out.
Chesed (helping others) is a wondrous thing…
because I can tell you…
the very little that I did…
did more for me….than for anyone else.
So…ask me that question right now…
How is my soul …today?
feeling better. thank you.

In the chaos that was getting help to people who need it, I virtually “met” some truly amazing people…who just know what it means to DO! These are the people that I am in awe of. The ones that don’t just sit back watching the devastation….but pick up their tushies and get things moving …no matter what the circumstances.

This includes my friends and random strangers of Lakewood who answered the call and donated what they could. The unbelievable generosity of a Mr. W who wouldn’t rest till I could arrange a him a place, where he could take his construction skills and help the displaced of far rockaway – He is currently lightly renovating an un-used house in disrepair, so TWO families who lost everything, can have a place to call home till they get one of their own – FOR FREE!

And then there was a Mr. Dave Weinberg of Silverspring MD, who arranged for 150 people of NY to come to his community and spend a warm Shabbos out of the misery from the storm. He is doing it again this week, including sending much needed supplies back.

Mr. Weinberg along with my fellow kosher food blogger, Dani Klien ( have come up with a truly fantastic way to HELP. After many hours talking to the JCRC, Met Council of NY, Achiezer & the people who were out there on ground zero in the heaviest hit areas, they came up with an ingenious way to rally the troops and all those people who want to help, but don’t know how or where.

They created a website called GIFTCARDRELIEF.ORG where you can donate any amount towards a giftcard to places like COSTCO, CVS & Bed Bath & Beyound. They then have partnered with local non-profit and relief organizations that have acute knowledge of their area’s situation and needs in order to distribute the cards accordingly. These gift cards will be delivered as promptly as possible to have the greatest affect on those in need.

So I urge all of you reading this post and who want to help…this is truly the most effective way one can do something from a far and to get that same incredible feeling I got this week…a good soulful one.
Tisku Limitzvot!

Crockpot Wednesday Recipe: BEEF STEW

There is nothing more comforting on a cold cold day then a hearty and delicious Beef Stew.
This stew takes minutes to put together and the abundance of fresh vegetables, good beef & spices slow cooked for hours…whose end result is served in a large bowl of yumminess that makes the belly full and comforts the soul.

I made it this week twice, one time to feed a crowd after a day out in the trenches and a 2nd time for my Tunie B. who gobbles up the potatoes like they are manna from heaven.

Tip: This recipe works great in a crockpot and on the stove top -and is a great meal to serve on Friday night. You will notice that I cut my own beef cubes, this way guarantees me fresh quality meat for my stew. The quality of the pre-cut cubes you find in most groceries is usually not up to par – and many times this may also be the cheaper route.

1 large onion, diced
2 tsp. of the following spices: cumin, basil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder
2 lbs club steak or small roast ( diced into bite size cubes)
1 1/2 cup hickory brown sugar BBQ sauce
1/2 cup honey mustard
2 large carrots, diced
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 large parsnip, diced
10-12 small whole red potatoes
kosher salt & black pepper to taste

Place the onions and meat on the bottom of the crockpot. Mix well. Pour the bbq sauce and the honey mustard over the meat.
Add the vegetables into the pot, ending with the potatoes on top. Cover and cook 4 hours on high.
Serve in a bowl with some great bread.

PLEASE NOTE: it has come to my attention that a few people who have tried this recipe have had to cook it in the crock pot for longer than 4 hrs – my recommendation is to dice your veggies small and/or add a little broth or water to the pot to cover the veggies and cook for 6 hrs on high. It seems every crock pot brand cooks a little differently – and in mine 4 hrs made this a very soft dish – so please adjust accordingly! :)