Hubs and I are both huge fans of breakfast. In fact, lazy Sundays are some of my favorite
On a rare occasion, the munchkin sleeps over at her
grandparents’ house and hubs and I have our lazy Sunday mornings all to
I relish those Sundays that we get to sneak away for
breakfast together at one of our many local eateries. I sip on my cream-loaded coffee while hubs
asks the waiter about every single item on the menu and then decides he still needs
a few more minutes.
It’s the kind of morning where I can relax, chat with hubby
about all the latest gossip and not worry that I will have a crayon torpedoed
at my head by the giggling munchkin.
When it finally comes to ordering, hubs is usually teetering
between a skillet of some sort or the classic lox and bagel combination.
Typically the skillet wins and as he mops up the list bit of
egg yolk with his toast he says, “You know what would be good with this? Lox.
Lox would have been good.”
So on a Sunday that was not so lazy for me, after I spent
the better part of the morning chasing after munchkin and arguing over what she
is having for breakfast she had finally exhausted herself and was ready for her
Typically this is the time that I get to sit down and enjoy
a cup of coffee in peace. But then hubs
woke up (he is late to rise) and he said he was hungry…and he wanted me to
In no mood whatsoever for creativity, I glanced through my
end-of-the-week almost empty fridge and sighed.
What’s a girl to do?
I stared at some leftover lox, a whole wheat English muffin,
some veggies and 2 eggs.
No skillets were to be had today. None at all.
We had better things to create.
Since hubs always wanted his eggs with his lox…I figured why
not give it to him!
The smoky and salty salmon I had leftover was going to be
perfect against a creamy egg. And add it
all on a whole wheat English muffin, I say we have some pretty tantalizing
eats! Not to mention clean eats!
And what better way to eat a salmon and egg sandwich then
with the most delicate egg of all: the poached egg.
Smoked Salmon Eggwich
2 square foot sized pieces of saran wrap
a few drizzles of olive oil
2 whole eggs
1 whole wheat English muffin cut in half and toasted
4 oz of smoked salmon
2-4 large slices of beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
a few rings of red onion slices
half an avocado, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp of vinegar
1. First you need 2 foot size square pieces of saran wrap
and 2 ramekins.
2. Place the saran wrap into the ramekins and dribble a bit
of olive oil into it.
3. In the meantime, add 2 tbsp of vinegar to a pot of water
with about 4 inches of water in it. Bring it up to a gentle simmer over medium
4. Crack one egg into each ramekin. Now you see why we use
the olive oil? It is going to help the egg from sticking. Feel free to sprinkle
some salt and pepper on it now, or you can do so after. Up to you.
5. Gather all four corners of the saran wrap and tie it. You
are creating little egg purses :)
6. Once your water is simmering. Drop in your little purses
of eggs into the water and let them cook for 3-4 minutes. I like mine a little
tighter so I let them cook the whole 4 minutes.
7. While those puppies are boiling away...toast your English
muffin (I prefer the 100 calorie whole wheat ones). Slice up a nice juicy
tomato. A few rings of red onion and just a few slices of avocado will do ya'.
And you will need about 2 pieces of smoked salmon per piece of twist, so about
8. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and
place it on a cutting board. Cut the saran open by snipping the top off.
9. Start making your sandwich by first placing the smoked
salmon on the toasty bread, followed by your avocado slices, tomato slices and
10. Slowly, place your poached egg on top and sprinkle with
salt and pepper if you have not yet done so.
11. And let your eager hungry hubby break the yolk :) Liquid
sunshine on a plate.
There’s something about the stories we share – from
person to person, taking part in one of the world’s oldest traditions. A few
weeks ago, I was reminded of the power stories have to captivate, to
illuminate. What am I going on about? Let me start at the beginning.
Recently, I’ve constantly been hearing that the “live lit” scene is exploding
in Chicago. I’ve been instructed more than once to, “Go to The Paper Machete at
Green Mill!” My curiosity regarding the scene was piqued. Enter an invite from
my trusty Oy!Chicago editors to check out a live lit/storytelling event entitled
“Guts and Glory.” I didn’t know what to expect. A little inspiration, perhaps?
So on a Wednesday night I walked over to Schuba’s. As I enter it buzzes with a
quiet energy. The dim, twinkly lights seem to say, “Fall is here, might as well
partake in an amber-hued ambience.” I climb the stairs and take a seat. Over
the next hour or so, the audience is treated to a treasure trove of stories
running the gamut from humorous, every-day observations to deeply personal,
wrenching tales with a little bit of everything in between.
The five or six Chicagoans (including Chicago transplants) sharing their
stories light up the room with wit, live-wire energy, and a sense of thriving
in the moment. Everything about it feels analog and present, a trip to a
slightly different time. Though some participants read from their iPads, the
gestures and intonation of each performance charm and entice the audience in
the manner of a live theater show. The
event is a raw, unaffected display of heart, guts and glory (pardon the pun). I
feel 16 again, sitting in playwriting class and taking in the creations of my
fellow students. (And I mean that in the best way!) In the manner all
possibilities can be explored, every idea can be expounded upon, every story is
a jumping off point for thousands more. It’s that one-of-a-kind feeling live
theater bestows on its audience.
Witnessing storytellers relay their creations in real-time, complete with
wildly emotive facial expressions is something special. I quickly grew enamored
of this “live lit” thing. As a spectator, my little writer/actress mind shook
awake. What would I write? As the last reader takes the stage, she shares a
story so funny, poignant, irreverent centered on one of the most universal
topics around: a mother/daughter relationship. She commands the stage as she
flips through the pages of her book and reads aloud. After the evening
finished, I pondered quietly. How to create an experience, a story so
multi-faceted, so real, so warm, so engaging? I’ll just have to learn by attending
more live lit events.
In fact, Oy!Chicago is hosting a live lit event called “Oy! Let Me Tell You …” on Nov. 19. You should come!
It’s at 7 p.m. at Matilda (3101 N. Sheffield Ave.) and I’m contemplating
tossing my hat in the ring. What will be the story I tell? Will it be full of
lively, well-refined pizzazz? A touch of sassy chutzpah? Will anyone learn
anything from it? Who knows? I’m looking forward to putting pen to paper, and
perhaps getting up in front of a live audience.
I know I’m late. I’m always late. (Heck – this blog post is late.) The
High Holiday blogs have long since been published and Passover matzah but a dry
and pasty memory, but and still, as someone who’s always late I am OK with my
writing being slightly less in the news of the moment. (And I have no
interest/ability in tackling the Ebola “pandemic.”)
So indulge me for a minute, as we go back in time,
(literally/figuratively) to the High Holidays …
My parents were coming over for dinner to break the fast. During the High
Holidays, my parents were (as usual) absent from temple services. The kids were
angling (as usual) for future exemptions because, (insert annoyingly whiney
voices) “Grandma and Grandpa don’t go! We never learn anything! Wah!” (Not
factoring in of course the other
grandmother, past president of the temple etc. etc.)
My kids have asked me several times why my parents didn’t attend
services and they were very unsatisfied by my repeated answer of:
“Papa thought about being a rabbi, but became a psychologist instead,
and Grandma felt she got a lot of mixed messages about Judaism when she was as
a little girl, so she does it in her own way. They just don’t go to temple.”
I have to say as unsatisfied as they were with my explanation, I was
kind of unsatisfied with it myself. But so many years had gone by; it seemed
kind of late for me to bring up the topic. So, in turn, I decided to empower
the kids and throw the Grandparents to the wolves. I mean, the big scary Book
was already written and closed for the season; if I was in trouble with G-d, it
was too late anyway.
I prompted the kids after we had all noshed a little.
“So? Don’t you have a question for Grandma and Papa?” I prodded. “Ask
My parents perked up and braced themselves simultaneously. My kids are
rarely focused enough to ask their grandparents questions (that are not
horrendously inappropriate) and/or attentively listen to the answers. My second
oldest (worst offender of inappropriate everything) surprised me when he simply
asked, “How come you guys never come to services? Do you believe in G-d? I’m
He then sat quietly and patiently for an answer. The siblings followed
suit. It was unusual. They seemed serious about listening. The vibe in the air
changed. Things got serious.
My dad looked at the eight pairs of young eyes staring expectantly at
him and he took a deep breath. He then began a story – his story - about being
young and hearing, seeing, and experiencing horrible things and wondering, “where
was G-d?” He remembered asking two rabbis at his mother’s Shiva why G-d had
taken his mother – who was so good and so kind – away from him? The rabbis, my
dad said, gave the worst answer he could have possibly imagined. They simply
both answered, “We don't know.”
In the process of finding his own way of believing and understanding the
world and life, he found his way back to believing in G-d. He found that G-d
was just a beginning and how humans lived their lives and made decisions – to
be good, to be bad, to heal, to harm – were just that – human decisions in a
world that G-d had made and given. He ended by saying that although he doesn’t
attend services, he is still Jewish and he still believes in G-d.
It was very quiet. Then my middle guy said, “So really, G-d is a teacher
– not a king.”
My dad teared up (hell, so did I) at my kid’s profound summary of a very
“Yes. A teacher,” my dad responded. “G-d is a teacher. Not a king.”
This may not bode well for next High Holidays (“Papa believes in G-d but
doesn’t go to services!”) but I am so glad the conversation happened. It took a
long time to happen and it almost never happened because so much time had
passed. But an incredible thing came to fruition: an experience was passed, a
perspective was shared and something was learned. It’s never, ever too late.
I was sitting in my career coach’s office,
constantly adjusting from side to side. If I stopped shifting for even just a
moment, my right foot began to furiously tap on the floor. I couldn’t make up
my mind as to where I wanted my hands to go: in my lap, on the arm rest, on my
chin. I kept switching positions without finding comfort in any of them.
My coach, Rita, was looking directly at me, searching for my eyes in order to make
contact. My eyes were drifting up and to the left, focusing on the tiny window
in the far corner of the room. We were at a pivotal point in the conversation
about what my next career move might be. We had laid out all the facts, hashed out
the past and speculated about the future.
“I just don’t know if this is the right
decision,” I said. I was contemplating a plan to leave my job and go on to work
completely on my own as a life coach.
Her response was, “What would you do if you
could not fail? If you had more courage and less fear, what would be your next
My foot stopped tapping. My hands rested
gently on the arms of the chair. I slowly turned my head toward my coach and
answered that I would quit my job in order to become an independent coach.
This was a conversation that took place over
seven years ago. Today, I still find those two simple questions to be the most
important questions a coach has ever asked me. In that moment, I was able to
imagine there was no possibility of failure, which meant there was only the
possibility of success. From there I saw a clear vision for my future. I saw
the life I wanted, and if I was only courageous enough to take the first step,
I believed I could achieve it.
I have probably asked this question at one
point or another to every client that I have ever coached. For them, as it did
for me, it always seemed to eliminate all the questions and revealed the
answers. When the fear that leads to false expectations is removed, all that
remains is the love that leads to truth.
learn more about living a life with more courage and less fear, visit www.100reasonstowin.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
My new standing desk. By the way, do you like my re-designed bulletin board?
some news. Are you sitting down?
news is that I’m not sitting down. I’m standing up!
now, I’ve been reading about the negative effects of what they call “sitting
disease.” According to the experts, “sitting is the new smoking,” and the hours
we spend each day are cutting our lives short. According to the Mayo Clinic, ‘If Americans would cut
their sitting time in half, their life expectancy would increase by roughly two
years, by reducing sitting to less than 3 hours a day.”
So a few
weeks ago, I decided to buy myself a standing desk to use at work. After
researching several options, including some pricey treadmill desks, I bought a Varidesk Pro. It’s an adjustable desk that
sits on top of my current desk and raises and lowers my entire computer
setup — both of my monitors, my keyboard, my mouse, and even my business cards,
Post-It Notes, and Chapstick. When I want to stand, I pull the desk up. When
it’s time to sit, I push it down. Each movement takes about two seconds.
bought myself an anti-fatigue mat to keep my footsies from
aching too much.
comes with an app that pops up on my screen to tell me when to sit and when to
stand. (Though, now that I think about it, it would be cool if it came with a
Jewish version of the app that said “Please rise” or “You may be seated” in the
voice of my childhood rabbi.) The experts say that sitting all day is not good
for you, but standing all day isn’t either, so the combination of the two is
the ideal. I set my app to tell me to stand for 30 minutes and sit for 30
standing desk in the standing position. Pretty meta to see the picture of me
composing this blog entry, right? (Excuse my mess of wires; I’m working on it.) Right: The
adjustable desk in the sitting position.
working out? I love it. Here are some of my favorite things about it:
1. Stepping. While I’m standing, if I’m on
the phone or responding to e-mails, I might even get a few extra steps on my Fitbit. I can talk and walk; why not
type and walk? It works great.
2. Better posture. I’m not including a
picture of the way I sit at my desk in this post because, honestly, it’s
embarrassing. I’m a bit of a sloucher, especially when I’m sitting; so when I’m
standing, my back feels much more natural and comfortable. Sorry, Notre Dame,
you won’t be gaining any hunchbacks from this girl.
3. More alert. You know the post-lunch
“Why-can’t-we-be-like-Europe-and-have-afternoon-siestas” feeling? I won’t say
that I’ve completely lost that feeling, but it has certainly improved. If I’m
feeling tired, I’ll stand up, walk a little, and get back into my groove.
4. Burning calories. My Varidesk app, in addition
to telling me when to stand and sit, keeps an estimate of how many calories
I’ve burned on a daily basis due to standing. I’m not sure how accurate this
actually is, but the app tells me I burn around 500 calories per day from
standing. I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like an extra couple of
5. Helping others. My job often requires other
people to come and look at my computer to edit a flyer or see something on our
website. When I show them the computer in the standing position, I feel like
I’m doing a small good deed by giving my coworkers a brief respite from their
sitting. And hey, it’s fun!
6. It’s a conversation starter. I love icebreakers, and this
is certainly a big one.
you’ve made it to the end of this post — I think it’s time to reward yourself
by standing up.
have an incredibly depressing confession to make: I’ve started preparing myself
for winter. I can’t even believe I just typed that sentence, but it’s true.
winter was a doozy and the know-it-alls that put together the Farmer’s Almanac
are saying that this year will be just as delightful. I don’t want to be caught
by surprise this time around, so I’ve been forcing myself to prepare for the
torture that is to come.
recently made a trip down to my basement storage unit and visited my winter
coat. There she was in her little plastic storage box waiting for me. I could
have sworn that I saw her giggle as I pulled her out of her summer home and
reluctantly put her back in my closet.
sounds awful, doesn’t it? It gets worse. Once my coat was back I went into
winter preparation overdrive. I put away my shorts, packed up my flip-flops and
retired my straw hat.
of that depression inspired me to try thinking positively about this change of
seasons. I know we’re not there yet, but why not start trying to have something
to look forward to this winter?
food obsessed, so naturally I turned to my kitchen for sunnier thoughts. You
know what I realized? I miss grilled cheese and tomato soup. But not just any
old tomato soup, I miss Ina Garten’s fancy Pappa
Al Pomodoro. What could be more comforting than a tomato soup recipe that
has bread in it? Not much …
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
1 cup medium-diced carrots, unpeeled (3 carrots)
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1 1/2 cups)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes, crusts removed
2 (28-ounce) cans good Italian plum tomatoes
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for
10 minutes, until tender. Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes.
Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade
and process just until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with
the chicken stock, red wine, basil, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons
pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer, partially
covered, for 45 minutes.
Well, one thing has stayed consistent at Soldier Field – the Chicago
Blackhawks have still won more games on the lakefront in 2014 than the
The Bears’ inconsistent season continued as expected (or not) on Sunday
with a pitiful 27-14 loss at home to the Dolphins. The Bears are 0-3 and minus 7
in the turnover battle at home this season, and 3-4 overall.
It was an overall lackluster effort on offense. For a group full of
offensive weapons and firepower, it’s amazing to watch them consistently play
with no urgency. They look relaxed out there, like they can just depend on
their talent and assume everything else will just work out. Hell, we knew the
defense wouldn’t be great this year, but at least they play with passion out
there! I’d much rather watch a less talented group play with fire under their
asses than a talented group play like they don’t need it – and that is exactly
what the Bears have looked like on offense on multiple occasions this season.
Maybe we are starting to see that there is a reason Marc Trestman never got
a head coaching job till now – like Thibs for the Bulls, sure he’s talented,
but he’s close-minded. Yeah,
Trestman is smart – the “Quarterback Whisperer,” maybe, but it seems he just
can’t get it done, not as a head coach anyway. His game plans seem unprepared,
he fails to make in-game adjustments, and he plays it safe, often to the Bears’
I’ve asked all year for this team to define themselves, to create and
harness an identity. But the truth is, this is who this team is – a
middle-of-the-road, underachieving, .500 team. They’ll continue to give us
false hope in certain games they aren’t supposed to win, (I’m predicting a win
next week at New England) and let us down in easy ones like they have against
Buffalo, Carolina and Miami.
They aren’t who we thought they were.
Sites We Like
Matilda (The Back Bar), 3101 N. Sheffield Ave.
Wednesday, November 19 | 7 p.m.
These are not your Zayde’s stories. Join Oy!Chicago and JUF News for an evening of true, personal, sometimes-hilarious, always-insightful stories told by young adults navigating Jewish life in Chicago. The event will feature bloggers from www.oychicago.com as well as special guest performers in a format similar to The Moth and other live lit events in the city. Hosted by Jeremy Owens, Oy! blogger and creator of “You’re Being Ridiculous.” Snacks will be provided in addition to a drink special.
Cost of admission:
$10 gift to JUF to support its work helping those in need and strengthening the Jewish community.
Register online now.
Sheraton Chicago, 301 East North Water St.
Saturday, December 13 | 8:15 p.m.
Featuring an evening of standup comedy with SETH MEYERS
Emmy award winner and host of Late Night with Seth Meyers
8:15 PM – Doors Open, wine, beer & concession snacks at your table
9:00 PM – Program Begins
AFTER PARTY immediately following Seth Meyers
Bigger and Better This Year!
Head downstairs for two hours of open bar, late night food and DJ
Big Event is YLD’s premier fundraiser. Your attendance requires a gift to the 2015 JUF Annual Campaign and reflects your commitment to building a stronger Jewish community in Chicago, Israel and throughout the world.
Learn more and register now at www.yldchicago.org/bigevent