A Tasty Moroccan Tu Bishvat Table From Hana Itzhaki in LA

Tu Bishvat Recipes and Table Settings, tu bishvat table settings

A Tasty Moroccan Tu Bishvat Table From Hana Itzhaki in LA

1 Comment 12 January 2012

Thank you Hana- So happy to connect with Jewish Hostesses in LA!! Thanks for sending in you Tu Bishvat table! Your menu is so similar to our Syrian appetizers- its really a small world after all! Marlene M.

“Dear Marlene,

“Hi Marlene,

For Tu B’Shevat this year  I prepared a table full of small plates that centered around fresh and dried fruits, nuts, olives and an assortment of Moroccan pastellim. A simple olive green table linen displayed an enormous bouquet of fragrant purple blossoms (I honestly don’t know what they’re called. The tag read “Costco stock bouquet”), The variety of colored fresh and dried fruit plates served as festive decoration and sweet snacks. For more from the menu and a link to a great citrus salad recipe visit lakosherkitchen.com . Hana Itzhaki.”

 

Photo via lakosherkitchen.com

Recipe for Citrus Salad with Mint Sugar

Recipe via Bon Appetit

Attention Hostesses- Grand Marnier listed below  is not recommended as a kosher liquor as per the Star K website- does anyone have a good idea for a substitute? 

Ingredients:

  • 7 each of grapefruits, navel oranges, tangerines, and clementines
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 8 kumquats, thinly sliced (optional)

Preparation

  • Cut peel and white pith from all fruit except kumquats. Slice clementines crosswise into 1/4” slices. Cut between membranes of remaining peeled fruit to release segments. Mix fruits in a large bowl. Add Grand Marnier, if using; toss gently to incorporate. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
  • Combine sugar and mint in a small food processor. Pulse until mint is finely chopped. Transfer fruit to a large bowl, scatter kumquat slices over, if using, and sprinkle salad with 2 Tbsp. mint sugar. Serve remaining mint sugar alongside.

 

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Sara Kasten’s Freilechen Purim

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Sara Kasten’s Freilechen Purim

No Comments 12 January 2012

Sara- Thank you so much for your continual inspiration on the holidays! Marlene
“Dear Marlene,  I am enclosing pictures of my shelach monos
for this year.  The little ceramic house lifts up and the actual shelach monos are inside.
The centerpieces were made from cardboard mask faces purchased at a 99c store and at party city. I added the embellishments and the base.”
Sara Kasten

 

 

 

 

 

 

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40 Cloves of Garlic ‘n Chicken-Passover Recipe for 40 Years in the Desert!

kosher passover recipes,seder table Ideas, kosher recipes, Passover Recipes

40 Cloves of Garlic ‘n Chicken-Passover Recipe for 40 Years in the Desert!

No Comments 11 January 2012

       

 Andre Balog, who taught kosher cooking in New York City, adds a mixture of fresh green herbs this traditional French recipe. He considers this a symbolic Passover dish, since the Jews wandered for forty years in the desert before reaching the Promised Land. The garlic flavor is mild because the cloves are cooked whole. Be careful not to slice or otherwise damage the cloves; that releases an enzyme that produces the intense garlic flavor.

Jewish Hostess note: adding garlic to your Jewish holiday recipes also adds huge health benefits for all of your family members and guests.

  •  Garlic has been proven to reduce blood pressure, 
  • It’s antibacterial effects can ward off a number of bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Cryptococcal meningitis, Candida albican and Staphylococcus. The problem with most antibiotics is that bacteria develops resistance to them, however this is not the case with garlic. 
  • Garlic naturally increases antioxidant enzymes  in your blood and can help against the damaging effects of nicotine and slows the aging process of your liver .
  •  A garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer
  • Click HERE for more garlic nutritional benefits written by the New York Times.

You can get more delicious recipes from this fabulous Passover Cookbook-just click below.

40 Cloves of Garlic ‘n Chicken Passover Recipe

       Makes: 6 servings

  • 4 heads garlic, yielding 40 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • One 4-pound chicken
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  1. Separate and peel but do not chop the cloves of garlic.
  2. Combine the 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar. Roll the garlic cloves in this mixture and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. Place the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil in a Dutch oven, reserving a little to sprinkle over the chicken. Place the chicken in the Dutch oven, then sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper over the top. Place the garlic around the chicken.
  5. Mix the parsley, chives, basil, thyme, cilantro, chervil and bay leaf Sprinkle over the chicken.
  6. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
  7. Subscribe NOW to win this PASSOVER cookbook of the month the NYT Passover Cookbook.
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An Amazing Earthy Table Setting by Sari Tawil

holiday table settings, thanksgiving table settings

An Amazing Earthy Table Setting by Sari Tawil

No Comments 11 January 2012

Dear Sari, Thank you SO much for sending in your Thanksgiving table setting! I know that somehow November faded into January but I just want to say that your table setting is so pretty and your table decor ideas can be used until the buds start blooming for Springtime!

Thanks again! Marlene M.

“I usually don’t do this my kids made me lol.

I wanted a earthy look so I worked around my beige dishes, burlap fabric as my cloth which cost $10.00, I overlaid a runner from Blossom Blu. My chargers were from Amazing Savings & cloth napkins were from Home Goods which were $12.00 for a dozen. My big splurge were the napkin rings from Kitchen Caboodles which I couldn’t resist… My best were the acorns from Wegman’s which have a cinnamon scent.” Sari Tawil

 

 

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Timeless Rustic Table Decor by Jane Choueka

thanksgiving table settings

Timeless Rustic Table Decor by Jane Choueka

No Comments 10 January 2012

 

Dear Jane, 

Thank you for being such a good friend and being so patient with me. I know you sent this pic way back in November, but even though it’s January 10, I just want to say that  I LOVE your Thanksgiving table and I am so happy to share it with The Jewish Hostess readers!! Your table decor ideas are truly inspiring for all year round. Its a great reminder for all of us to just take a look outside and bring some of mother nature indoors. A trip to Amazing Savings certainly adds the perfect color and finishing touch! Keep sending your pics! Love, Marlene

“For my Thanksgiving table, I went with a simple fall look.. I started by buying a piece of fabric in a terra cotta color and used it as a runner. I bought napkins with leaves,  and white rectangular plates from Amazing Savings.  I placed them over a round straw colored placemat. For the finishing touch I cut branches from a tree in my backyard and used it as a  centerpiece.” Jane Choueka

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An Authentic Cowboy Purim Seudah

purim recipes, baskets, and decor, purim table settings

An Authentic Cowboy Purim Seudah

1 Comment 09 January 2012

Thanks Lisa for these great party pics- not only is this rodeo theme fun for Purim, but we can get inspiration here for a boy’s (and girl’s) birthday party or barbecue. I love how only you infused the Syrian mazza onto your Aztec/Mexican blankets! America is such a melting pot of  food and heritage! Looks like you all had a great time on the ranch! Marlene

Hi Marlene, These pics are from my friend Kim Tawil’s cowboy themed Purim party! Lisa Cohen

 

 

 

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Low Fat Whole Wheat and Honey Breakfast Banana Loaf

breakfast recipes, kosher bread recipes, kosher dessert recipes, kosher recipes, mothers day recipes, shavuot recipes and ideas

Low Fat Whole Wheat and Honey Breakfast Banana Loaf

2 Comments 08 January 2012

I originally found this whole wheat banana bread recipe on the King Arthur website. I kept experimenting and trying to make it taste good while making it low fat and sugar free. When I tried using Earth Balance instead of butter, it really was still not low fat, and it had a bitter after- taste. I decided to try applesauce instead of the butter and it added a nice sweetness to the recipe while still keeping the banana bread moist. I also substituted brown rice syrup for the brown sugar  and it was slightly less sweet but delicious.  I doubled the amounts, and baked this delicious healthy breakfast bread into mini paper loafs and sent it over to my married kids so that they keep coming back for more…….

If you use brown rice syrup in this recipe you will taste the delicate sweetness but you will not experience the sudden spike in blood sugar caused by desserts made with regular sugar .  Natural, and made with fermented brown rice, brown rice syrup is a great source of manganese, iron, potassium and B- group vitamins. Read more about Brown Rice syrup HERE. Enjoy! Marlene

 

Low Fat Whole Wheat and Honey Breakfast Banana Loaf

Low Fat Whole Wheat and Honey Breakfast Banana Loaf

Ingredients

    Whole Wheat and Honey Breakfast Banana Loaf Recipe:
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup (or 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large bananas, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ or 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the applesauce and brown rice syrup until smooth. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and bananas, beating until well combined. The mixture will be fairly smooth, with some scattered small chunks of banana.
  3. Beat in the honey and eggs.
  4. Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring until smooth.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  6. Bake the bread for 50 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean.
  7. *All ovens vary in temperatures so please use your discretion with baking times! Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes; then remove it from the pan, and set it on a rack to cool completely.
  8. Yield: 1 loaf, 16 to 18 servings.
http://www.thejewishhostess.com/whole-wheat-and-honey-breakfast-banana-loaf/

 

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Fun and Functional: Putting a Home Office to Work

at home, kosher recipes

Fun and Functional: Putting a Home Office to Work

No Comments 07 January 2012

Thank you Lenore Cohen for sharing your DIY home office tips with us!

Attention all Jewish Hostesses! Lenore has many talents! Check out her website!  www.LenoreCohen.com.

By Lenore Cohen

When we moved into our new apartment, my husband insisted that I keep my design skills out of his “home office”, his way of giving me “less work to do”. How considerate! Yet as the first year passed the room became steadily harder to look at, a constant source of mess, disorganization, and just plain yuck. Needless to say, that door stayed closed most of the time. More importantly, though, the room wasn’t being used to it’s full potential. An organized workspace is the physical equivalent of writing a business plan. It forces you to get organized yourself, be more productive, and do better work. So as a gift for our first wedding anniversary, I decided to give the room a complete overhaul. Following is a step by step “how-to”.

As you’ll see, with a little creative thinking, redesigning a room doesn’t need to break the bank.

1)My husband runs the website for a retail store. Products he needs to add to the site used to sit in piles all over the floor, messy, forgotten and collecting dust. I got these bookshelves from Ikea for just $25 each; I like the way they resemble retail store shelving. They were easy enough to put together, and I hired a handyman for just $20 to mount them safely to the wall.  Now it’s easier to see all the products on the to do list, and the room is neater and easier to clean.

2) The “Money Wall”. The most attention grabbing part of the room– I created a wallpaper using foreign currency and some self-adhesive foam core boards. First I ordered a pack of ten boards from Binding101.com. Next I printed out foreign currency from about 12 different countries, which I found by doing a simple google image search. I sliced the bills apart using a paper cutter from staples (picture of “Slicing money”). After that it was a simple matter of peeling the protective sticker off of the foam boards and layering the bills on one by one. Because they were self adhesive I didn’t even need glue. I chose to use boards rather than directly using the wall because now I can take the project with us when we move! Once I had all the boards ready, I lined them up on the wall and hammered a tiny nail into each corner. The nails are invisible and so are the boards- the end effect is a custom wallpaper.

3)Next was the floor. My husband liked the unfinished wood (don’t ask me why!) but I felt the room needed some warmth. As a compromise I chose an area rug from Moshells.com instead of wall to wall carpeting. I like how the design of this one looks like It’s coming out of the wall.

4)Next was the workspace itself. The uncomfortable chair had to go, I got a proper one from Staples. Then I installed a magnetic pushpin board and trash can from the container store, both simple and sleek black. I also bought a leather desk organizer from overstock.com; now all the to do lists and random ideas are filed and the desk is easier to clean. Last was a wall calendar sticker from Staples- it’s actually a whiteboard that sticks to the wall! The total cost of these accessories was less than $60.

5)The finishing touch: The printer was sitting on the box it came in. Not exactly pretty. Rather than buy a new piece of furniture, I opted to cover the box in a thick, beautiful wrapping paper from Paper Moon. The deep red color picks up on some of the tones in the foreign currency wallpaper behind it. Now the only eyesore left in the room was transformed into an inconspicuous background element.

And there you have it- some creative thinking, a little time put in, and the office is now both fun and fuctional. (Picture of “after”) Now when guests come by, I keep the door open and show it off– and more importantly, my husband is getting more work done in a more productive way. Now, about that other spare room….

To see more of Lenore’s work and other home improvement how-to’s, visit her website at www.LenoreCohen.com.
Follow her on twitter at twitter.com/ThatArtistGirl.

How to Get Your Family to Eat Healthy on Purim

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

How to Get Your Family to Eat Healthy on Purim

1 Comment 07 January 2012

A Happy AND Healthy Purim Holiday

Beth Warren MS RD

“Eat me, eat me”

Practically every adjective, like gooey, squishy, sticky, smooth, rough, colorful, sweet and sour ,can be used to describe one word…candy. One word, however, cannot be used: healthy. Let’s face it. The Jewish holiday of Purim revolves around the sweets. The mishloach manot, or food basket, which requires two blessings or two different foods, has somehow evolved into a haven for a multitude of junk foods. From bubble gums, to winkies, gummies, lollipops and taffies, the colorful cascade of unhealthy snacks find their way into your house screaming, “eat me.” Turn the unhealthy day into a welcoming challenge. Here are helpful tips to take Purim back to the slogan “Marbim B’Simchah” (“increasing happiness”) rather than putting a damper on the celebration with junk food:

“Plan, Plan, Plan” The New Purim Mantra

The first healthy undertaking is giving your family advanced notice of the rules on Purim so it does not become a free-for-all sweets extravaganza. Explain to them this: “We put each mishloach manot on this (predesignated) table. We do not open each one right away. At the end of the day, we’ll put all the candy in a pile and each choose 3 of the ones we want to keep in our own bag and put away in the kitchen. That bag will be yours. Nobody but you will eat from it. So it is your responsibility to choose whether you’re going to eat it all at once or more spread out. It’s your decision.”  By stating the plan firmly, in advance and then holding to your word, you are accomplishing a few key parenting examples:

  1. You are not restricting all unhealthy snacks and setting children up for an unhealthy relationship with food. We don’t want to be too restrictive especially in a day that children are hit with so much temptation and socially, so many other children are eating it.
  2. At the same time, you are being healthful and teaching the concept to your children by limiting the amount of junk food. There is a case of, “How much is too much?” at play.
  3. You are teaching your child the art of responsibility and self-control, key factors in maintaining a healthy weight during their lifetime.

The Realist

A better option, if possible, is to get your hands on the mishloach manot before you children and get rid of all the junk (ideal J), or takeaway some of the “worst” treats like those with only sugar and artificial coloring. Even if you have two minutes from when the doorbell rings until your kids come down to see the candy, a lot of strategic junk food swapping can take place during that time. Getting rid of the temptation is a constant theme of the day.

Mind Your Body

This rule never gets old for both you and your family: eat breakfast. It is essential both going into and throughout the Purim day to fuel the body with foods it does need to stay satisfied. And by breakfast, I don’t mean an 80 calorie yogurt. Make it count. Try oatmeal with walnuts and strawberries, plain non-fat Greek yogurt with granola and blueberries, or 1 egg yolk with 2 egg whites and veggie omelete.

Eat at Set Times

It is important that you don’t get too hungry on Purim. If you do, than you are susceptible to the ample amounts of junk food temptation. The feeling of hunger ignites the survival instinct. Your inner self takes over forcing you to grab whatever food available. Purim is a day of atypical temptation, testing the strictest dieters’ self-control. So fuel yourself the right way and stay steps ahead of the seemingly never-ending, devilishly enticing sweets.

Also, it is easy to get swept up in celebration that you do not realize how much time passed since you last ate. It may be helpful to set reminders to eat a healthful snack at scheduled times. If you’re craving sweets, try an apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter before digging into the pot of gold…chocolate coins.

A plus about the day is that the mandatory Purim meal is relatively early in comparison to other Jewish holidays. Take advantage of eating your biggest meal during this time, leaving dinner to be a lighter meal of protein and vegetables. Keep the plate model in your mind: ¼ protein ¼ starch and ½ of the plate non-starchy vegetables. If you want to go back for a second helping, take more vegetables. Lastly, if you feel your willpower dwindling, allow a controlled indulgence now. Make a smart choice like 1 oz of dark chocolate with nuts after you eat your meal.

Get Rid of It!

As Purim comes to a close and the kids go off to bed, smile and exhale a sigh of relief. Another Purim has passed and girl, what a great one it probably was. Your eyes scan the house and stop on piles of junk food comfortably covering your entire dining room table. Now what? The old you would waltz over and graze through the snacks, tasting a few. The new, prepared you, takes some of the empty mishloach manot packages and starts to stuff the candy back, feeling more liberated with every candy bar you shove inside.  You make a phone call to ….. and donate your candy or you send it off with your hubby to work the next day (of course, making him sign a written contract that he will in no way engage in eating the bag of spoils nor keep it inside his office).

What is the excuse for keeping the candy in the house? If your child was allergic to a food, would you allow him to eat it or entice him by having it stocked on your pantry shelves? Think of too much candy as harmful to your child as well. Instead, use the sweets from Purim as an opportunity to get your children involved in charity and donate the foods. If you do feel like they need to have some, let them choose 1-3 snacks to keep and to pick a storage spot in your kitchen. Then, explain that these are theirs to keep and that they can choose to eat them when they want. But if they eat them all at once, then that is all they will get. If it hits the Passover mark and the candy is still in existence, pack it away with your Chametz and after the holiday, sympathetically explain, “I’m sorry, the candy didn’t make it through the holiday” never to be seen again…

That is, until next Purim.

Beth Warren MS RD CDN runs a private nutrition counseling practice in Brooklyn, NY. These tips and more are available when you “Like” her facebook page Beth Warren Nutrition or on her blog at www.bethwarrennutrition.com.

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Three Fantastic Authentic Passover Tablescapes by Kineret Spector

kosher passover recipes,seder table Ideas, kosher recipes, passover seder tables, Passover Table Settings

Three Fantastic Authentic Passover Tablescapes by Kineret Spector

No Comments 05 January 2012

WOW! Kineret you’ve done it again- I’m so glad to be able to help  share your wonderful Passover seder table ideas. I am constantly amazed at how one Egyptian-Passover-escape-from-bondage-theme can be translated into so many unique holiday table ideas. Thank you, thank you, thank you for inspiring us all. To all Jewish Hostesses – Check out Kineret’s facebook page BSG TABLESCAPES .   Marlene

p.s.- Attention a hostesses! Rememeber to snap some pics of your seder table pics to win one of 3 great prizes! Send PICS to marlene (at) thejewishhostess.com.

1- $100 gift certificate to Parci Parla- the fablulous table top shop on Kings Highway in Brooklyn. Kim Seybert, Jonathan Adler, Ralph Lauren Home, Coffee Table Books nd so much more!

Parci Parla Inc 565 Kings Hwy, New York, NY 11223

(347) 587-5179 ‎
2- $75 to STRETCH activewear by Jeanette Sabbagh- Jeanette can make sure you look chic while sweating off those matzo pizzas! Call her at 917-678-6000 for personal activewear shopping for every body size!
3- A Gorgeous Orchid plant by Shirley Barnathan- call Shirley at (917) 535- 8387 for all of your holiday and party flowers. Free Delivery in Brooklyn.

             “Hi Marlene,

             Hope this finds you well. I’m sending you some Passover tablescapes from years past.  Haha, no pun intended

Many Jewish families already have many of the kinds of items I used for this “Exodus from Egypt” themed table- various clay and brass pots and vases, and even wooden camels!  The palm leaves are from the plants in my front yard. Blue and black paired with gold and silver is reminiscent of ancient Egypt.  Metal bangle bracelets from the local flea market make awesome napkin rings. Finally a gold chain around the table with place cards tied to them remind us how we were chained together in bondage, and how we are bound together in our heritage.
Here are a few more ideas!
Covered Hagadot and flowers make an elegant spring theme for any Passover table!
Another favorite of mine, our Nile theme, with my version of Miriam and Yochevet looking on among the reeds (Ross finds!) Baby Moshe name card holders (below) add a whimsical touch for the young and young at heart!
If you like what you see please LIKE our page BSG TABLESCAPES on facebook for many good ideas.
Wishing you a happy and healthy Pesach!
Kineret Spector

 

 

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Warm Breakfast Quinoa With Almond Butter and Cinnamon

breakfast recipes, kosher pareve recipes, kosher recipes, kosher rice and pasta recipes, sugar detox recipes

Warm Breakfast Quinoa With Almond Butter and Cinnamon

8 Comments 04 January 2012

This morning I couldn’t wait to start Sari’s Sugar Detox so I cooked up  a breakfast recipe that was inspired by the Couldn’t Be Pareve website. I omitted the sugar and replaced it with a little bit of honey.  This recipe is gluten free, soy-free, and vegan. I really enjoyed this warm nutty quinoa. It really made me feel like I was finally giving myself a great start to a long day. You may have to play around with the amount of cinnamon or honey that you prefer, but feel free to add a variety of fruits or ground flax seed. This quinoa recipe is large enough for at least 2 people so make sure to share it with a family member or just cut the recipe in half.

I can’t guarantee that your kids will say that it tastes as good as a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but you can give it a try! Enjoy ! Marlene

Warm Breakfast Quinoa With Almond Butter and Cinnamon:

kosher recipe ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup water or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • dried fruit and nuts for topping
  • honey for topping (optional)

Combine the first five ingredients (apple sauce through cinnamon) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the almond butter and honey are melted and the mixture is hot. Add the quinoa and stir until hot. Divide between two bowls and top with dried fruits and nuts. Drizzle with honey if desired.

 

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10 Cool Tu Bi’ Shvat Activities for Today’s Kids

kids, kosher drink recipes, kosher recipes, Tu Bishvat Recipes and Table Settings

10 Cool Tu Bi’ Shvat Activities for Today’s Kids

2 Comments 04 January 2012

Subscribe Now: and win a chance for a free copy of  Amy Atlas’s New Book, Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It!

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE! 


As some of my Jewish Hostess readers may know, I am involved in interviewing many elders for The Sephardic Heritage Museum which has really  forced me to think about what  memories my kids will take with them as they go on with their own lives.  Many of the elders that we interviewed, recalled great anticipation for Tu B’ishvat during their childhood in Syria. They all reminisced about how their mothers would sew them a cloth bag with a drawstring, and their parents would collect  treasured “exotic” fruits such as pineapples and grapefruits, and Syrian pastries until giving it to them on the  day of Tu Bishvat. Kids would savor their treats, and share and trade with friends for weeks afterwards. Can you imagine this year, Tu Bishevat 2012, handing your kid a home-sewn velvet bag filled with kiwi, papaya and almonds????? lol-  this year, a baggie with some fruit rollups and apple sour sticks just might do the trick!

Growing up in Brooklyn, in the 70’s, my friends and I still joke about the the inedible rubbery brown carob stick that they used to dole out to students on Tu B’shevat at The Yeshivah of Flatbush. Well, I can just imagine my kids tossing that carob right into the trash can if I tried it on them today!

As my quest for a modern day Tu Bishvat continues, here’s a list of some holiday ideas to try with your kids. Use your imagination and send in your great ideas and traditions to me so that we can all share it on The Jewish Hostess:

1- Watch the video above to appreciate the beautiful flowering country of Israel. When you are done watching, You may just book a one way  ticket to Israel!

2-Rebuild trees burnt in Fires in Carmel, Israel Since Tu Bishvat  calls for the renewal of nature, what better way to teach kids how to reach out to others in time of need?

Tzedakah via internet. Perfect for kids with short attention spans!

3- Grape Juice Sangria-

Let your kids pick out which fruits they like and let them help chop and mix.

 

Grape Juice Sangria

  • 1 medium bottle of kosher grape juice
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice (optional)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 pear cubed
  • 1 apple cubed
  • 1 orange pith removed and cubed
  • 3 cups carbonated  plain or lemon-lime beverage
  • 1 cup of red grapes cut in half

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate for several hours. Be creative but only use the fruits that you know your kids will like! Serve in your prettiest fruit cups.

4- Make Tu B’shvat Pomanders out of fresh oranges . Use these decorative balls as centerpieces in a bowl on your breakfast table. Creative Jewish Mom has easy projects for your creative kids.

Orange Pomander

5-Does you kid love  the combo of sticky wood and glueMake a Fruit Crate and display it on your dinner table with a bunch of grapes, some dates, and a cut up pomegrante. What a centerpiece! Click HERE for easy instructions.

6- Connect with nature right in your kitchen and plant a seed in an egg shell. Or learn how to easily plant apple,  orange, grapefruit, tangerine or lemon seeds HERE. Planting a seed teaches kids patience and responsibility in our modern day world of instant rewards.

Try planting seeds in an egg carton as another down to earth craft!

photo via Good to Grow

7- Make your own flowering dried fruit sculpture with the kids- they will feel so proud to leave it out all week on your family dining table!

Click HERE to get creative!

centerpiece

8- Have a Shiv’a Minim Tu Bishvat Family Seder .

Click HERE to find out how.

9 – Buy A Tu Bishvat classic for kids- Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shevat
– an educational book, and a great children’s gift for all year round!

10- Check out how I came up with this year’s Tu Bishvat centerpiece HERE.

Let’s start some new Tu Bishvat traditions in our homes this year, and maybe one day, in about 2020 or so, our grown kids will be planting a seedling in their kitchen, making grape juice sangria, sending money to plant a tree in Israel, or creating their own Tu Bishvat centerpiece with their own little ones…..

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Marshmallow Sweet Potato Pie @vickyayal via Instagram

kosher thanksgiving recipes, kosher vegetable recipes, shabbat recipes

Marshmallow Sweet Potato Pie @vickyayal via Instagram

No Comments 04 January 2012

Here’s an easy sweet potato pie addition to any Shabbat or Thanksgiving dinner by Vicky Ayal shared via Instagram. Enjoy!

Don’t miss a single recipe! Subscribe Now!

 

Queen Esther’s Metallic Touch at Your Purim Seuda

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Queen Esther’s Metallic Touch at Your Purim Seuda

No Comments 02 January 2012

 

Dear Hostesses,

As Purim rapidly approaches, here are some new touches of orange, black, gold and silver to add some sparkle and excitement to  your Purim Seuda table. Banish those “matchy matchy” voices in your head saying that you can’t mix your metals. Throw some orange brights into the mix, drape some Tahitian pearls around your neck, have a sip of kosher wine,  relax, and  let Purim 2012 be your best Purim ever!

Marlene

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Two Perfect Mishloach Manot Ideas From Gourmet Kosher Cooking

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Two Perfect Mishloach Manot Ideas From Gourmet Kosher Cooking

No Comments 01 January 2012

Thank you Elizabeth Kurtz from Gourmet Kosher Cooking!  I love these two totally different Mishloach Manot themes. One sweet pound cake flavored  with Nutella – package with a coffee mug and some coffee beans for a breakfast style Purim gift, and as for the savory herb flavored oils, try to purchase some fresh Italian bread, Italian pasta, and some gorgeous red beefsteak tomatoes, and wrap it up for an authentic Viva Italia themed mishloach manot! (p.s. make sure your bottles are sterilized before using) Marlene 

 

“On Purim as well as throughout the year, at gourmetkoshercooking.com we love to make and give delicious homemade Mishloach Manot and hostess gifts. Here are two ideas that are both easy, elegant, and always a big hit.”

Sweet Mishloach Manos

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake (Pareve or Dairy)

200910-r-pound-cake
I use the pareve chocolate spread instead of Nutella to make this pareve. Either way it is delicious.

  • 1 ½ cups flour,
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted margarine, or butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 13-ounce jar of Nutella or 13 ounces of Pareve Chocolate spread (the pareve spread may need to be softened in the microwave to spread like nutella does. Heat in 20 second intervals, until spreadable but not cooked)

Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan or 6 2 x4 inch mini loaf pans with non-stick spray. In a glass measuring cup lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 ½ cups of flour with the baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, using a mixer beat the margarine with the sugar at medium speed until fluffy about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.

Spread one –third of the batter in the pan, then spread half of the Nutella or chocolate cream on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Chocolate cream or Nutella. Top with remaining batter. Lightly swirl the chocolate cream into the batter with a knife. Do not over mix.

Bake the cake for about 1 hour. (Smaller cakes will require about 40 minutes). Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes.

Savory Mishloach Manos

Rosemary-Infused Olive Oil

image via readynutrition.com

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs (each 5 inches long)

In small saucepan, combine oil & rosemary. Cook over low heat until a thermometer reaches 180 F, about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temp. Transfer the sprigs to a bottle, then add the oil. Seal and refrigerate up to 1 month

Basil Oil

  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Blanch basil in medium saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds.
Drain. Rinse under cold water. Pat basil dry with paper towels. Transfer to blender. Add oil; puree until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.)

Lemon and Bay Leaf Infused Olive Oil

  • 1 large fresh lemon
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon whole peppercorns

Wash the lemon thoroughly and dry well. Pour the olive oil into a small heavy saucepan. Using a zester and working directly over the pan, remove the zest from the lemon, letting it fall into the oil. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns. Heat the oil over medium-low heat until a candy thermometer reaches 200 degrees. Cook at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer the oil mixture to clean sterilized bottles. Cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 months.

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Fresh and Wholesome DIY Purim Baskets

at home, DIY, purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Fresh and Wholesome DIY Purim Baskets

2 Comments 01 January 2012

Hello Hostesses!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been bustling around this week, making lists of…well, darn near everything. Groceries, to-dos, important events… and of, course, with one of the most festive holidays fast approaching, you may also be making lists of people you’d like to include in your celebrations, and what you plan to give them.

I’ve received mishloach manot on Purim that were supremely elaborate and packed to the brim, and I’ve also received bags of goodies that were extremely thought provoking and personal. One in particular that comes to mind was a bag given to me by one of the ushers at my temple, a lady whose friendship I am lucky to have. Her gift certainly showed how much thought she’d put into it, maybe in a little less conventional way. Her pointedly plain, brown paper bag included one small bottle of kosher wine, one apple, one bag of carrot sticks, one bag of prune hamentashen, and one bag of ribbon candy. Included was a note about how each item in the bag requires a different blessing, and that in the midst of all the revelry, we should take the time to remember the holiness in each item. It was a very touching sentiment, one that I will remember fondly for years to come.

There are many ways to put together your gifts of Purim food items. A popular way to arrange your baskets is to create themes, based on whatever strikes your fancy–the season, the recipient’s hobbies or passions, a sports or movie theme, a springtime theme if it’s warm where you are, or a chilly weather theme if you’re still getting snow. It can be  kosher foods based on a favorite movie or play, a color theme, anything your heart desires.

I made a few different theme baskets to show you this year.

This happy hostess is stuck in Saint Louis, where we got another inch of ice and snow last night. While hunkered under my blanket with my husband, I thought about some of my warm and cozy comfort foods. And thus, the Snuggle Purim Basket was born:

This basket was super easy to put together. I bought:

  • Some 1-quart canning jars
  • A bag of raffia
  • A rectangular basket, about 4″ deep
  • A small 1-cup jar with an airtight lid
  • Pre-made ciabatta rolls from a local bakery
  • A tin of chocolate chip cookies

I made a large batch of basic vegetable noodle soup. You can also simply buy cans of your favorite ready-to-eat brand. Because the cookies and ciabatta contain dairy, I’d stick with vegetarian soups like vegetable barley, tomato, split pea, etc.

I ladled the soup into the clean canning jar, place the lid tightly, and wrapped with raffia to make a decorative bow. Because this should be eaten quickly, there’s no need to actually “can” and pressurize the soup unless you think the recipient will want to store it. It will keep, refrigerated, for 2-4 days. For artistic purposes, I removed the packaging from the ciabatta and cookies, but you can keep yours on if your baskets will be sitting out a while.

I spooned about a cup of cappuccino mix into my smaller jar. You can use instant coffee, hot cocoa blend, teabags, whatever you like. You can add a note if you like, by writing out mixing instructions on a small tag and tying it to the jar with a strand of raffia or ribbon.

Ray of Sunshine Purim Basket:

To battle some of this cold, I thought–“What’s the most bright, summery activity there is?” The answer was immediate–picnics, of course! What says summer cheer better than red and white checked tablecloths, fresh fruit, and sunshine? Nothing I can think of.

So I put together the “Ray of Sunshine” basket.

This is arranged in an actual picnic basket, and though the photos are too close to see, all the food items are nestled in red and white checked cloth napkins. A trip to Hobby Lobby allowed me to pick up some silk sunflowers and some fuzzy little bees for decoration. They attach with wire, easy peasy.

In this basket, I arranged all your summer picnic staples.

  • Cold fried chicken– picked up at a local deli.
  • Fresh fruit
  • A large bottle of lemonade A canning jar filled with Fresh Garden Salad, decorated in a gingham ribbon.
  • Corn on the cob, wrapped in aluminum foil
  • Chocolate chip cookies– if your recipient keeps kosher, substitute a non-dairy dessert, such as macaroons or pareve hamentashen.

Even though summer is quite a ways away here in St. Louis, one can always daydream about it. One of my favorite things to do when the weather is warm is visit one of our many beautiful vineyards. My husband and I used to make a monthly tradition of visiting a local winery and enjoying an afternoon on the terrace. So when I asked him for a basket idea, he suggested perhaps revisiting one of our favorite themes.

The “Afternoon at the Vineyard” Purim basket:

This is a smaller basket, but absolutely packed with decadence and deliciousness.

Everything is snuggled nicely into a green satin cloth napkin. You can use raffia or cotton batting underneath to help keep everything in place and fill in any extra spaces–not that you’ll have extra room with all the goodness in here!

This basket contains:

  • Two single-serving bottles of sweet Riesling. Any bottle of your favorite wine will work. Or you can give juice.
  • Bunches of grapes, both green and red
  • A wheel of Gouda (again, any cheese will be fine–just make sure it’s a hard enough cheese that it can withstand room temperatures if it will be sitting out for a while. You can find kosher cheese at any local Whole Foods or kosher market)
  • A small tub of hummus. I chose sundried tomato and basil flavor.
  • A package of water crackers. I chose “vegetable medley” flavor.

I stuck a few cookies in there to fill out the space, and I also had a small tub of olives–greek and italian, packed in oil, but they somehow got swiped. I think my husband forgot I was making baskets and helped himself to a snack.

Purim Brunch Basket:


And of course, if you or your little ones will be delivering baskets in the earlier hours, nothing beats a Purim Brunch Basket! Give your recipient the best gift of all–a full gourmet breakfast with no dishes and no cooking!

I picked up a few things for this basket, but it’s all super easy stuff to make yourself, too.

I used a basket I had around the house, and just lined it in a remnant of pretty pastel polkadot fabric I bought at a craft store. With prices usually less than $5 a yard, check out your local fabric or craft store’s clearance racks for interesting fabrics. You don’t have to buy a lot, and it always comes in handy for lining gift baskets, wrapping jars, anything!

This one is so versatile. You really can put anything in it.

I chose to add a 2-serving spinach and mushroom quiche. You can make your own, or make a dozen little mini-quiches, instead.

I also bought a couple miniature loaves of pumpkin raisin bread from my favorite Mom-n-Pop bakery, and accompanied these with fresh fruit and two bottles of Simply Pure orange juice.

You can mix and match whatever you like into such a basket:

  • Dry cereal and bottles of milk
  • Homemade bread, scones, or muffins
  • Hard boiled eggs, in the shell
  • A wheel of cheese
  • Pastries
  • Homemade granola bars
  • Jars of instant coffee or teabags

Oh, my head is reeling from all the choices!

Whether you copy one of these, or if one item inspires you and you run with that idea into a whole new world of possibilities, your recipient is going to adore your gift and the thought that accompanies it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. Even if your goodies are simple and tucked into a plain paper bag, if you put a little thought and meaning into it, the person who opens it is sure to remember it for years to come.

Enjoy, and happy eating!

Charlie Michelle

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