4 Ways I use a Cooler to Simplify Thanksgiving


I love Thanksgiving—the food, the friends and family, the festivity…everything except the pre-meal scramble. There never seems to be enough time and definitely never enough counter/tabletops. Surprisingly, one of my biggest helpers to simplify the chaos is a cooler.

A cooler may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a Thanksgiving feast, but for me, it’s been a miracle. Instead of stressing about a lack of space, I can create an additional storage center that—best of all!—doesn’t even need to be kept in the kitchen.

Any size cooler will help, but I like to use a large model and Coleman is my favorite brand. Here are 4 ways to use it:

1. Turkey Holder

When there’s no room in the fridge for a huge bird, you have to get creative. In the past, I have filled my cooler with cold water and used it to defrost. Another neat idea is to use it for brining; Bon Appetit has great step-by-step instructions

2. Makeshift Dishwasher

My kitchen has a single sink so there’s no way to separate dirty from clean. Once the regular dishwasher is full, I turn my cooler into a second mini one and stack dirties inside. I wouldn’t recommend it for delicate items like glassware but most plates and pots/pans should be fine.

3. Ice Bucket

Just like the turkey, cases of soda and wine bottles are shelf hogs. Fill a clean cooler with ice and store drinks easily. Most models have a drain, so clean up is a breeze.

4. Food Warmer

Turn a cooler into a warmer by lining it with foil, then stack casserole containers with sheet trays between the layers. If the lid is kept shut, cooked food can easily stay warm for an hour or two.


How do you simplify Thanksgiving prep?

Turkey-Shaped Challah for Thanksgiving


If you love creative cooking, check out this recipe for a turkey-shaped challah, courtesy of My Jewish Learning and The Nosher. Any challah dough can be used and then it’s shaped/decorated into a holiday bird. 

This has got to be the most unique Thanksgiving food idea I’ve seen in a while. I’m not sure my bread-making skills are up to the task, but I’m impressed just with the idea. Fabulous!

Super Savings Saturday – 11/21/15


Welcome to another edition of Super Savings Saturday!

This was a slow week, but that’s ok because I’m busy preparing my lists for the Coupon Olympics (Black Friday sales). Rite Aid and CVS have amazing upcoming ads, but Walgreens seems terrible. In 2014, they offered 19 freebies and this year it’s supposedly only two. Crazy!

I made 2 quick stops at the drugstores and skipped everything else. I wanted to do my Thanksgiving shopping early, but ran out of time. Hopefully, I can get there early tomorrow or Monday before the huge crowds.

My best deals came from CVS, due to receiving a postal mailer full of store coupons. None had size restrictions and I used them for snacks, paper products, and hygiene items—you know, all the important stuff!


Playtex sport pads, sale price $7.99. I used a $4.00 manufacturer’s coupon. Total: $3.99, plus $3.00 ECB!

Total Home tissues, sale price $0.99. I used a $1.00 CVS coupon (marked down by a penny). Total: Free!

Gold Emblem pretzels, regular price $1.00. I used a $1.00 CVS coupon. Total: Free!

Dove trial sized deodorant, regular price $1.27. I used a $1.00 CVS coupon. Total: $0.27!

Rite Aid:

2 Bounty paper towels, on sale $0.78. I used 2 $0.50 manufacturer’s coupons. Total: $0.38 each!


Did you find anything special? Share/Link in the comments.

Jonathan Pollard to be Freed after 30 Years in Prison


After 30 years behind bars, Jonathan Pollard is set to be freed later today. Convicted on espionage charges for passing classified information to Israel while working for the U.S. Navy, Pollard has long been a matter of controversy—here and abroad.

Opinions in the Jewish community vary. I’ve heard him called everything from a traitor to a hero. Either way, everyone seems to have strong feelings about him, his case, and what it represents. According to Elliot Goldenberg’s The Hunting Horse, Pollard was always driven by ideological reasons and was lured by rogue Mossad agents that used him. His (many) detractors claim it was about money and nothing more.

Personally, I do think it was ideology (yes, he received some cash and gifts, but Pollard has always been a committed Zionist, and that was his main focus). Regardless of his motivation, what he did was 100% wrong. He violated his security clearance knowingly, fully aware that he was committing a serious crime. That said, giving him a life sentence was unbelievably harsh. I don’t condone his actions, but I think he is entitled to a parole and will not pose a continuing threat.

The thing that has always bothered me most about this case is the old
“divided loyalties” argument. Because Pollard is Jewish and he passed material to Israel, it only perpetuated the false stereotype that Jews care more about Israel than America. So not true!


Each individual Jew is only responsible for their own actions. Pollard’s choice was his and his alone, and the community shouldn’t have to suffer because of his mistake. For decades, he’s requested to leave America and resettle in Israel with his wife. {As a side note, Esther Pollard is incredibly fascinating in her own right. They couple met and married behind bars and she has been a tireless advocate on his behalf, giving endless interviews and maintaining a website.}

Due to federal parole rules, he can’t leave the country for a minimum of 5 years, and the Obama administration is refusing to intervene—pretty much guaranteeing this circus will continue. I expect to see interviews, a book deal, and maybe a movie. Sometimes I think the Pollard case will truly never end…