You’re probably wondering why it’s taken me so long to write a new post.
Well, the truth is that I’ve been going through somewhat of a rough patch, and I needed to take a step back from blogging until I could pull myself out of it.
It sounds so stupid talking about it, because nothing truly terrible has happened lately. It’s more of a slow burn of first-world problems. A few months ago, I began to realize how complacent I was with work, my hobbies, my love life, and just life in general. I wasn’t getting the kind of success I was putting the effort in for, and it felt really shitty. I made a plan to change that in all areas, and the work just hasn’t paid off yet.
To be honest, it’s making me feel a little crazy. Okay, a lot crazy.
I’m not the kind of person who believes in karma or predetermined fate. I believe that we shape our own futures.
I look at the past like I look at a math problem. Given the same variables, the same timing, and the same filter of life experiences, I could go back in time again and again, and watch myself make the same choices over and over. The past is not fluid. There is no “what if.” There is only what happened and how I choose to move forward from it.
I look at the future as something I have much more control over. If I don’t like my present, I’m not going to sit and wait for good karma to even out the score. It’s up to me to make a plan, put in the effort, and create my own success.
So I took matters into my own hands. I don’t like writing about work or my other areas, but my (lack of) love life has always been a pretty open book, so I guess we’ll just add to the chapters here.
I told myself that I had to go on dates with 10 different guys before I was allowed to be discouraged and quit online dating. So I did. (Let’s skip to the spoiler alert: I’m still single, and this ends in discouragement. Get excited.)
The process was actually kind of hilarious. I met some really interesting people, some really uninteresting people who made for great stories, and of course, a few who made an impact.
You know when you meet someone and you just have this immediate feeling that it’s someone important? And right from that moment, no matter how good or bad they actually are, all you see is this perfect human being who will fill all of the voids you’ve been wanting to fill? Well, I did that. Twice, to be exact.
Both times followed the same routine. I spent a couple of days in my happy place, walking around with a stupid grin on my face and butterflies in my stomach. I knew I shouldn’t and I tried not to, but I got my hopes up.
And then when things slowed down, I waited. And waited. Soon, the voice of reason told me what I had been blocking out with a classic hand-over ears “LALALA if I can’t hear you it’s not really true” move. He’s just not that into you.
I knew it was true, but I didn’t understand why. It’s not like the “why” would change anything. Every “why” has the same ending – me, crying on the bed like a teenager and scolding myself for being stupid enough to cry on the bed like a teenager. It just sucked.
Then, along came the world’s greatest guy. He was sweet and considerate. He was intelligent and challenging. He finally made me understand what people mean when they say “he makes me want to be a better person.” But I just didn’t have the physical connection with him that I was looking for.
I broke up with him over text message, because I am a coward. I wish I had the courage to tell him in person, but it’s not easy to tell something so sad to someone so wonderful.
And so, here I am. Pining over the men who don’t care about me, dumping the ones who do, and miraculously still meeting new people and holding out hope that one of them will be the perfect combination of those two things.
In the meantime, I managed to injure my sciatic nerve, and had to take a break from the only thing that keeps me sane – spin class. So that’s my best excuse for the whole “basket case of emotions” thing. Oh, and also I sliced my artery open while cooking. Lesson learned: don’t fuck with an immersion blender unless you want it to fuck with you back.
So yeah. It’s been a weird time in life where I don’t think anything I do is good enough. I actually shot a few recipes and decided not to post them because I was so down on my own work.
So there you have it. I’ve been a crazy person, I’d like to stop being a crazy person, and now that I can make challah bread, I am one step closer to being every Jewish mother’s dream. Except for the fact that I’m not Jewish.
Whatever. The bread is delicious, I am awesome, and I will keep making plans to make my life better, even if they don’t work out the way that I imagined they would.
I have a feeling your new life plan begins with this bread. Enjoy it.
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages dry yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups warm water (80 -90)
- 1 egg, beaten
- poppy seeds (optional) or sesame seeds (optional)
- First measure out all your ingredients.
- Now from the 1/2 of cup sugar take 1 tablespoon of the sugar & combine it with the yeast& warm water (you know you have the right temperature of warm water when it's the same temperature as the inside of your wrist).
- I let my mixer bowl which is metal (kitchen aid) sit in a hot water bath while the yeast dissolves, 10 minutes.
- After the yeast has dissolved (it's nice & foamy) add to it the rest of the sugar, salt & 3 1/2 cups flour.
- Mix well (I use the bread hook).
- Add egg (already beaten) & oil.
- Slowly start mixing in most of the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour. The dough will become quite thick.
- When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a floured surface& knead for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add only enough additional flour to make dough manageable. Knead until dough has acquired a "life of its own"; it should be smooth & elastic, springing back when pressed lightly with your fingertip.
- Place dough into a large oiled bowl turning the dough once so its oiled on all sides.
- Cover with a damp towel & let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, punching down in 4-5 places every 20 minutes.
- Now, I always write down what time I started so I don't forget when the 2 hours are up & set a timer every 20 minutes. (In the summer I let the dough rise on my balcony & in the winter in front of my oven where something is always baking, turning it every time I punch down the dough).
- After the 2 hours, turn your dough onto your working surface.
- Now comes the forming part.
- For Shabbos I always make a 2 level braided challah which looks great & is really easy.
- Prepare your baking sheet lining it with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- First, take a large knife & cut the dough in half.
- Next, from each 1/2 now cut off a third & place the 2 thirds on the side.
- Now, from the first half (where you've removed a third) divide the remaining dough into approximately equal thirds.
- Roll each third out till its about 10-12 inches (I'm guessing I never measured it) & braid all 3 roll together pinching the top & bottom half together& turning them slightly under.
- Place on baking sheet.
- Repeat the same for other half.
- Now take the first third you removed earlier& divide in 3, braid just like you did before& place on top of the already braided challah.
- Repeat same for other third.
- Now let the challah rise for 1/2 an hour.
- After the challah has risen glaze with beaten egg & add mohn or sesame if you wish.
- Put in preheated oven & let bake for exactly 25 minutes!
- Turn off oven & leave Challahs in for exactly another 10 minutes!
- Remove from oven. Enjoy!