After months of struggling to get the HBK website up and moving, I can't believe it's finally here, published and launched! I am so thrilled to have the privilege of sharing my knowledge with you and look forward to you sharing your insights with me and the HBK Community.
What was my vision for this HBK journey? It started as teaching cooking classes in my wonderful community in Northeast Philadelphia. I gathered ladies in my home and taught them how to substitute healthier ingredients for unhealthy ones and, more importantly, how to make their own ingredients at home. The ladies were really thirsty for knowledge and it felt so wonderful knowing that I was helping them in this area.
At the same time, I wanted to expand my horizons and give live demonstrations to organizations. Last January I landed a series of 3 classes at the Choice Food Pantry at the JCC Klein Branch in Philadelphia. With Hashem's kindness, those classes have turned into a twice-a-month gig during regular food pantry hours. I prepare the food, but rather than demonstrating cooking techniques, I focus on showing the clients how to use their food pantry staples in creative, healthier ways. For example, my last class I made No Sugar Added Oatmeal Raisin Bars (see recipe in Desserts section!). The food pantry carries most of the ingredients in that recipe--bananas, raisins, eggs and oats. I simply showed the clients how to use those ingredients in a healthy way that they may not have thought of.
It was thanks to my stint at the Food Pantry that I started my free Healthy Bitez Kosher newsletter. I thought it would be helpful to send clients the recipes in a fun newsletter form. I also wanted to reach non-food pantry clients. Specifically, reaching out to the Jewish community and sharing what I had learned in the past year/year and a half of researching and experimenting. So I started building up a subscriber list and several months later am sending out the newsletter twice a month (usually!).
I really wanted to have an online presence. To be honest, being the mother of 5 growing kids who are high maintenance (what kids aren't??), I felt I needed to be the master of my own time. Developing a website would enable me to make my own schedule while hopefully earning a parnassah (salary). Hence, this website and, actually, another website, too, which I will share with you at another time.
It has been a long road. When I started out giving my first class, I never imagined I would end up here. And I have no idea where this journey will lead me. What I do know is this: I am so grateful. I am grateful to the Federation for hiring me to work at the JCC Choice Food Pantry. I am grateful to all of the clients and workers and volunteers there who make my experience a joy. I truly look forward to going there the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month! I am grateful to my HBK Newsletter readers. Sometimes you send me feedback and it really inspires me to keep going! I am grateful to all of my friends who support me, send me likes and positive comments on Facebook and elsewhere. I am grateful to my wonderful family. My sister, Suzy, is my cheerleader--I love you, Suz! I could never do this without the support of my dear husband, Larry, who has been by my side all the way with his easy smile and kind ways. Most of all, I am grateful to Hashem. Hashem always listens. Always. And I have found that when I can do my hishtadlus (effort) and then sit back and let Hashem take care of the results, He always leads me in a direction more beautiful than I could have ever imagined myself.
So, my dear readers, here we are, at the beginning of a wonderul journey together. I look forward to sharing the road with you, hearing your feedback and, most of all, being of service.
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