How to Fold Your Linen Napkins The Elegant X Fold Way

chanuka table settings, DIY, holiday table settings, shabbat table settings

How to Fold Your Linen Napkins The Elegant X Fold Way

No Comments 24 May 2012

Fancy napkin folding techniques sometimes appear much more difficult than when you actually try to do them yourself, so when using a linen cloth napkin its always a beautiful touch when you dig up some easy napkin folding ideas for your Shabbat and holiday table decor. I don’t think that there is any specific “proper” napkin fold. Just go with whatever mood you are in at the moment. You can just slide your napkin ring into your prettiest linen napkin or try this napkin folding technique inspired by David Stark’s Napkins with a Twist: Fabulous Folds with Flair for Every Occasion. When I set up my Romantic Red Shabbat  Dinner Table  for a charity event, I had a great sense of accomplishment when all of the folds and flips actually turned into a gorgeous base for a dinner plate.

Because this napkin fold leaves a wonderful space in the center, you can place a bud vase, a birthday or Hanukkah gift, a  place card , a personalized cookie or cupcake….. use your infinite imagination and please snap a photo and send it to  The Jewish Hostess to share with all of us! Marlene

Step 1- Lay the napkin open in a square and fold each corner to the center.

Step 2-Flip the napkin over and fold each corner to the center point.

Step 3- Flip the square over using one firm hand below and placing one firm hand above to clamp and keep the napkin from opening.

Step 4- Fold each corner to the center point once again.

Step 5- Flip the napkin over.

Step 6- Gently pull out center of each quadrant towards the outer edge to create each leg of the “X”.

Step 7- Here are 2 of the 4 quadrants that are open.

Pulling open the third quadrant….

Step 8- All done!

Play around with different placements atop your napkin fold….

A sterling box, or holiday gift is spectacular here.

Check out my Shabbat table using this beautiful napkin folding design HERE.


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The Jewish Hostess Romantic Scarlet Themed Shabbat Table Decor

shabbat table settings

The Jewish Hostess Romantic Scarlet Themed Shabbat Table Decor

3 Comments 22 May 2012

When Amy Oren of  Elegant Impressions asked me to create a table setting  for “True Colors” a fundraiser to benefit Mekor Haim of Brooklyn, NY, I was immediately open to the challenge. The idea of the event was that several table decor designers were instructed to prepare round or a 4 foot long Shabbat tablescape using 1 color as an inspiration. “Would you do red?”, she asked, and I immediately accepted, even though the color red was not yet my top choice of color for a table setting theme. With the big day about four weeks into the future, I mentally swept the thought of my red table decor into the corner of my calendar until the event loomed less than a week away. I decided to stay calm while semi-frantically searching among my own table ware.  I pulled out five crystal candlesticks, and some antique scarlet red fruit compotes that I had bought when I was first married. I also  plucked some crystal goblets out of the cabinet that my mom had given to me when she moved out of her huge corner house on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.

Eyeing my little assembly, it was starting to look a little cozy and romantic to me, so I decided that we would have a rectangular shaped Shabbat table for two.

I ran down to my basement where I had stored some white plexi squares that I had made up for my daughter’s birthday party last year. Hmm…..

Borrowed two stunning white beaded placemats and  looped linen napkins…

Ran into Parci Parla on Kings Highway in Brooklyn, and of course Sherri was willing to lend me the entire store…

The Judaica store next door to Parci Parla was very gracious in lending me  red siddurim….

I laid it down on the dining room floor, added the red siddurim and a bottle of red wine…

I played around with some napkin folding ideas and tried the one above, but my kids said it looked like a Red Cross logo, so I turned it around until it became an X.

I started to envision red rose petals along the vertical edges of my lucite table “runner”, so I called Shirley Bar Nathan who advised me that rose petals peel off the stem much more easily when they are a couple of days old, so I ran to the corner and bought three dozen deeply colored red roses, enjoyed them for Shabbat, and on the Tuesday morning of the event, I really enjoyed peeling and displaying them along the edge of the table display. Of  course you can integrate this rose petal theme into so many table scopes using a multitude of rose petal hues on the floral market.

Because I was really getting into the romantic theme, I wanted to have place cards that were calligraphied “Scarlet” (get it? RED..) and “Rhett” (of course from Gone With the Wind) If you are too young to know who Scarlet and Rhett were, you can get some kind of comparison to modern day love stories  here…

 I was advised that Rhett and Scarlett might be too racy for a religious crowd… So last minute I switched the names to  Abraham and Sarah…

I used matching Kim Seybert beaded napkin rings as votives….

  • lucite box and Jonathan Adler red frame by Parci Parla…
  • printing for “thejewishhostess” label and  frame by Bonnie Adjmi
  • Siddurim by Tehillat Yitchak Judaica
  • red and black Hermes dishes and crystal place card holders and lucite flatware by “Aimee”,
  • long stemmed strawberries (by Ilan from Ouri’s fruit on Avenue U) topped my compotes (hashgachah NOT included)
  • Swirly candlesticks by Surrey Lane.
  • Calligraphy for place cards by Michelle


All in all it was great fun, and I was glad to help out  a community cause. Thanks Amy!




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Fluffy Holiday Coconut Cake by Shirley Dana

kosher dessert recipes, kosher pareve recipes, kosher recipes, shavuot recipes and ideas

Fluffy Holiday Coconut Cake by Shirley Dana

No Comments 20 May 2012


Thank you to my neice Shirley Dana, the expert gourmet baker in the family who is always wiling to share a sect recipe with the entire world!

Check out her website HERE. Thanks Shirl!

Fluffy Holiday Coconut Cake by Shirley Dana

“Getting ready for the Jewish holidays? Here’s an unbelievably moist and fluffy kosher coconut cake recipe perfect for Shavuot. It definitely takes some planning in advance, but the end result is heavenly – melt in your mouth white cake filled with creamy dreamy coconut custard and piled high with whipped cream and more sweet coconut. The whipped cream frosting that I prefer with this cake has a bit of cream cheese mixed in – this not only gives it a lovely tangy taste, but it also stabilizes the whipped cream, allowing it to stay fluffy and high for longer than regular sweetened whipped cream. Of course, you can finish the cake with toasted or regular sweetened coconut… depending on the look you are going for.

Enjoy!! Shirley C. Dana”

Fluffy Vanilla Cake:

  • 5 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature and cut into cubes

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.

2. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed  for 30 seconds.

4. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of milk, and mix on low speed until just moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.

5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.

6. Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.

7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

8. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

Pastry Cream:

  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  •  1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 ½  tbs butter at room temp
  •  1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
  •  1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
  1.  Bring the milk a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks with the sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk to temper the yolks so they won’t curdle.
  3. Whisking the entire time, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk.
  4. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (to the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Keep it at a boil. still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
  1. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the butter until the bits are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth.
  3. When the pastry cream is completely cooled, slowly fold in the whipped cream until no streaks remain. Fold in the toasted coconut.

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Frosting:

  •   1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1.  Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth.
  2. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

 Cake Assembly:

  1.  To assemble the cake, slice the two 8” cakes in half once they have chilled a few hours in the freezer.
  2.  Fill each layer with the toasted coconut pastry cream.
  3.  Generously frost the cake with the whipped cream, and sprinkle toasted or regular sweetened coconut all over the tops and sides of the cake.
  4.  Enjoy!


Cake Recipe:

Adapted from Sweetopolita

Pastry Cream:

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Whipped Cream Recipe:

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Was Popeye Eating Kale?

kosher recipes, kosher salad recipes, kosher vegetable recipes, shavuot recipes and ideas

Was Popeye Eating Kale?

2 Comments 19 May 2012

Adele Yedid MS, RD

We all somehow inherently know that kale is good for us. From fast food eaters to health food fanatics, children to adults, dietitians to laymen…kale is pretty much a universal health food. Even my computer seems to have gotten the memo on this nutritional giant. While gathering data on kale I typed the words “nutrition” into a Google search and before I could even type the words “of kale,” a funny thing happened. The first search option to pop up was “nutritional perks of kale.” Either my computer is psychic or there’s a major buzz surrounding the health benefits of this green vegetable.

So what’s the hype? Maybe it’s because kale is just so green, or probably because most people don’t like to eat it. We all know that the best test determining how good a food is for you is how bad it tastes, right? (Loud, annoying buzzer) WRONG! I would like the opportunity to disprove that.

Let me begin with a little background information on this “superfood.” Just like your favorite superhero, kale is tender yet strong (proven by its ability to be eaten from raw to braised), fights the bad guys (diseases like cancer and heart disease), puts things back where they belong (as in cholesterol and waste- you get it), and saves the good guys (provides a plethora of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals). Specifically, kale is an amazing source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as one of the highest available food sources of vitamin K. It is actually so high in vitamin K (which works in blood clotting factors) that those on blood thinners may be advised to avoid it as it can be counteractive to their medication. Among the specific types of the antioxidants found in kale are the carotenoids and flavonoids, which are the primary factors giving kale its anti-cancer capabilities. I can continue, but I will spare you and simply say that going through kale’s nutritional roster makes me wonder if it was spinach Popeye was eating all that time.

I am aware that all this nutritional jargon may not be enough to convince some of you skeptics. My husband Eli was an avid kale chips hater. He would list it on his top 10 worst foods. He would make faces as I ate it at dinner. He strongly felt that I could eat it only because I am a registered dietitian who grew up on a macrobiotic diet, and I would agree to appease him. But despite that, I couldn’t prove to him that I truly did enjoy it. I had to find a way to present it to people like my husband who were on the other side.

And so, I searched and read and tested and tasted. What follows are two recipes that I feel can change your mind if it needs changing. I would like to showcase kale’s versatility by presenting it to you in both cooked and raw form. We will start for the faint of heart with a recipe for spicy kale chips, a crispy and light snack that your kids will fight over. From there we will graduate to enjoying kale in its green glory with my asian sesame kale salad, fresh, earthy and vibrant. Talk about spring cleaning!


For the purpose of my two recipes we will be using curly kale. Other varieties of kale are lacinato or dinosaur kale, as well as ornamental (purple) kale. When buying curly kale I like to look for a bunch that is full, firm and has tight curls. Kale that feels wilted is not fresh and will not have the flavor or nutrition that it should. The color should be deep, rich green, and free of yellowing and obvious blemishes. I choose organic kale which is free of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.


Kale should be thoroughly washed, leaf by leaf in cold water. It can then be gathered it in a salad spinner, sprayed with a vegetable wash and allowed to soak for 2-3 minutes to get rid of any critters or dirt that may still be present. Spin it dry and you are ready to go.


Always remove the tough center stem of the kale, then chop to your desired sized pieces


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (in sprayer bottle such as misto)
  • ¼ tsp sea or Himalayan salt
  • ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Wash kale, remove hard inner stem, cut into bite size pieces
  3. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (if a misto is not available, simply drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly)
  4. Optional: sprinkle with any or all of the following for added flavor: lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sesame seeds, cumin
  5. Place on parchment lined baking tray, bake for 15-20 min until crispy but not burnt on edges.


  • 1 bunch kale (yield approx 8 cups)
  • 2 cups purple cabbage (sliced thin)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds (I buy raw, hulled seeds and toast myself)
  • Optional: ¼ cup currants


  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  1. Wash and dry kale thoroughly, cut out tough center and chop into bite size pieces
  2. Chop cabbage and scallions, shred carrots
  3. Toast sesame seeds in pan over low flame, moving pan continuously. Take out of pan at first sign of toasting. Do not allow to burn, should get tan
  4. Combine kale, cabbage, carrots, scallion and sesame seeds (and currants if using)
  5. Mix all dressing ingredients and add to salad. You can dress this salad in advance, as the kale can withstand the dressing and it will allow the flavors to develop.
  6. Serving suggestion: as seen in the photo, serve atop a bowl of soba noodles and vegetables in dashi for a balanced meal.

I hope that I have been successful in tempting you to try this nutritional powerhouse. I figured if I haven’t convinced you as of yet I will leave you with the thoughts of my macho husband texting me from the work just the other day: “Hey, is there any kale salad left? I’ll send someone over to pick it up.” Now that’s victory.

Are you willing to take the plunge?

Adele Yedid

contact me  at


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Pecan-Pie Truffles From the Brand New Hatzolah Cookbook

hanukka recipes and tablesettings, kosher dairy recipes, kosher dessert recipes, kosher recipes, purim recipes, baskets, and decor, rosh hashanah desserts, shavuot recipes and ideas

Pecan-Pie Truffles From the Brand New Hatzolah Cookbook

1 Comment 18 May 2012


Hats off to the talented Erika Sabbagh for producing the most mouth watering collection of gourmet kosher recipes ever! 

Hurry and get your copy of this 300 page gourmet kosher cookbook chock full of 200 kosher recipes for  $36.

A perfect Hanukah gift! contact Erika at to order your copy!

Erika highly recommends this recipe for pecan pie truffles! These truffles are easy, dairy, and will melt in your mouth! 

Perfect for a Hanukah, Purim,  Mother’s Day, and Shavuot dessert!

Pecan-Pie Truffles From the Brand New “A La Carte” Hatzolah Cookbook


  • 2 1/2 cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate or dark chocolate
  • 25 pecan halves


1. In a medium bowl, stir together the pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt until well combined. Add the maple syrup, condensed milk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water; use your hands to blend the ingredients well.

2. Form the mixture into 24 walnut-size balls. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for 2 hours.

3. In the top of a double boiler or in a medium stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt the chocolate. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip the frozen balls into the melted chocolate, then place on the prepared baking sheet and top each with a pecan half. Let set for 15 minutes, or until firm.

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Lorene’s Two Summer Table Settings-Flower Garden and Sea Side Inspired Dinners

at home, holiday table settings, shavuot table settings

Lorene’s Two Summer Table Settings-Flower Garden and Sea Side Inspired Dinners

4 Comments 14 May 2012

Thanks Lorene Sasson for sharing two of your holiday tables with us! I love the holiday colors and themes that you chose! Now I’m ready for summer! Marlene

Hi Marlene!

The first night of Shavuot I went for the summer/ocean/colorful look, and for the second night, I went for a garden feel. I actually bought the mirrors and the silver chargers from Amazing Savings. The napkins and rings are from Bed Bath and Beyond.

I also used shower gifts from 6 years ago. The silverware was a gift from my sister, as well as the dishes and stemware. I love making the holiday by me  because I can use the items that are really special to me.
I was going to go thru with the whole summer/oceanside feel- but then I saw the flowers at the shop stuffed together and i love COLOR and at the last minute my whole table changed. but to stay true to my original theme, I threw in some ocean glass.

The second night-  I bought new dishes from home goods (Mikasa Cherry Blossom) and I already had cherry blossom branches that I have never known what do do with EVER so i put them away. I decided to bring them out of the closet and add them to the table with my new dishes.
The table runner is Lenox. The  pewter dragonfly/butterfly plates were a gift from my mother who was not here for the holiday this year, so it gave me the chance to make the nights by me. I cant wait to show her the pictures,I know she’ll love them!

I am very pleased with this table because everything really fell together nicely in the garden theme.

Thanks Marlene,  and Shabat Shalom!!
Lorene Sasson

First Shavuot Night- Seaside Inspired


Second Night- Flower Garden Settings Below


Win a Viking mixer! Click HERE !

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Dynamic Rabbinic Portraits for Today’s Gorgeous Homes

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Dynamic Rabbinic Portraits for Today’s Gorgeous Homes

No Comments 11 May 2012

In the past several years, community tastemaker  Joy Mahana’s  large stunning megasized resin, acrylic, and metallic abstracts  have been featured in an array of luxurious homes throughout the country.

Now Joy Mahana has been dazzling the art world with her new collection of portraits that portray a fresh take on a traditional subject.

Joy acknowledges that the past and present coexist in every moment of our daily lives, and has always revered  our great rabbis while pursuing her art career. Her modern collection of 30 rabbinic portraits captures their ever present gaze and personality with vivid colors and lacquered finishes.

“Once I started painting the rabbis, I couldn’t stop. I loved reading about their influence on their communities and impact on Jewish history. I decided to create a series of  paintings that would bring the images of our holy rabbis into our modern homes.”

Acclaimed interior designers  Warren Bond and Nick Calder have featured her rabbinic works in many of their stunning spaces.

“Joy’s “Rabbi’s” Brilliant! In color and subject!… They put me in the mood of Warhol!  I have used them in a show house and also a clients reading area. I find them both serious and tongue in cheek, humorous.” Nick Calder

“I find Joys work romantic as well a powerful use of color and form, full of spirt and heart.” Warren Bohn

Facebook link:!/pages/Joy-Mahana/424382204247818

CLICK HERE to “LIKE” Joy’s Facebook page and  enter to win a free 16×16 portrait.

Joy’s web site:

CLICK HERE to see the entire collection.

Each limited and signed unique edition  is 16″x16″ and is valued at $400. Individually, signed, enhanced and hand colored by the artist.

Pre-order artwork for Father’s Day!

A fabulous addition to a dining or living room  wall! Contact Joy at for more information regarding her artwork.

Scroll down to see more of Joy Mahana’s stunning rabbinic portraits.


A Jewish Hostess Hot Pink Accented Spring Themed Table

holiday table settings, kosher recipes, mother's day tables, shavuot recipes and ideas, shavuot table settings

A Jewish Hostess Hot Pink Accented Spring Themed Table

4 Comments 10 May 2012

My anonymous (love her like a sister) sister in law recently made a gorgeous spring lunch for her closest relatives, and I just had to share it with all of you. Feast your eyes on this fabulous lunch menu and hot pink accented table top decor. Though she claims that she made up some of the recipes, I am slowly trying to drag all of the secret info out of her, so please bear with me. One recipe that I can share with all of you is the one that I passed on to her, and you can find the recipe for Panko Encrusted Goat Cheese Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seeds HERE. The rest of the recipes will g-d willing come ASAP!!!

Notice how the HOT PINK placemats and center napkins took center stage and made this table shout, “ITS SPRINGTIME, LADIES!!! EVERYBODY SMILE!!”

Which we absolutely did!!!

As a special bonus HOSTESS tip-

The circular straw  placemats can be purchased at Gracious Home.

If you want a POP of color without spending a fortune, you can purchase these MY DRAP disposable placemats and napkins (in the center of the table pictured below) from Amazon. Usable up to 5 times- you get a lot of bang for your buck!


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Samboosak recipe HERE….

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Ikey’s First Birthday – A CARNIVAL PARTY THEME!

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, birthday parties, parties

Ikey’s First Birthday – A CARNIVAL PARTY THEME!

1 Comment 09 May 2012

Wow! Dalia wasn’t clowning around when she decided to pursue the carnival/circus theme party. I love it! Thanks Dalia! Marlene
“Hi Marlene,
 I love perusing your site for ideas and inspiration!!! I wanted to share with you some pictures from my son Ikey’s first birthday party.  I chose a circus/carnival theme. The dessert table consisted of a variety of fun carnival-themed candies, including popcorn, large shelled peanuts in small personalized cups, mustache chocolate lollipops, large whirly pops, cotton candy, chocolate covered pretzels, cupcakes, small personalized packages of animal crackers, candy buttons, dumbbells made of marshmallows, as well as other assorted candies.  For the food, I served hot dogs with different toppings, french fries, corn on the cob, hot salted pretzels, and taco salad.  I found wonderful food/treat labels and water bottle labels on  I decorated the room with a carnival bunting.  I also made my own napkin rings (an idea inspired by your site – and very simple, I might add!) using red and white striped grosgrain ribbon and personalized “Ikey” cut-outs.  The kids played pin the nose on the clown, and we also had a “photo booth” where they dressed up using silly costume accessories (e.g., clown wig, tie, sunglasses, jester hat, huge inflatable clown shoes).  Everyone had a fabulous time!!! Thanks for letting me share! Dalia Dabah”


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A Botanical Earth Day Bar Mitzvah Theme Breakfast DIY by Claudia Bildiricci

bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah parties

A Botanical Earth Day Bar Mitzvah Theme Breakfast DIY by Claudia Bildiricci

7 Comments 08 May 2012

I have to say that I am so lucky to know some of the most talented Jewish women in the world. Every where I turn, I am constantly amazed by the creativity that blossoms with every simcha, holiday, and charity event within our Jewish communities. I am so proud to showcase all of these talents under the roof of my site, The Jewish Hostess. After all, that’s what life is all about- sharing, being inspired, and putting out own spin on the beauty in our lives. As a guest at Claudia’s son’s bar mitzvah event, I marveled at how she seemed to be able to effortlessly dive into the botanical theme of the bar mitzvah decor, and then look gorgeous and calm at the event as if she had Preston Bailey on the scene.  This theme can go a long way. Using different color and florals, Claudia’s ideas can take us into any holiday or party event decor. Claudia, thanks for the spark! Marlene
“Hi Marlene
   I am so happy you were able to join us for Hymie’s Bar Mitzvah!  The party was on Earth Day.  My mind started to race.  I came up with herbs for the tables and googled and came upon The growers exchange who shIpped me samples whIch I took to Ikea and found a white pot and rocks to top the dirt.  In Ikea, I came across the white frames you see on the table.  Everyone loves to see pictures of the baby~boy~ or couple. For 99 cents each, I bought 24 frames!  Went online and copied pictures on Snapfish, easy and done!
I wanted a natural look, so I asked the table cloth company for burlap. He said he has fake burlap, even better!  Real burlap is a mess!
He only had squares of sashes. 4′ x 108′ .  Now what?  My frIend Lynn Schrem said lets weave them! And we did!
Now to the napkins.  Again googled wood letter H’s and sure enough!  I ordered a sample sprayed them with silver.Went to M&J Trimming for the leather.
I was done. My son sprayed the 180 H’s and the glueing began!
The Thursday night before the bar mitzvah party, we wove  the sashes and put every napkin in the H ring.   I bought the wood bark at last mInute in the flower market.
It was finally all coming together!
Adelaide Khezerie arranged the centerpiece of flowers for my older son’s Barmitsvah, so I called her to help me with flowers for other tables.  I knew I needed some height in the room. She took me to the flower market the Wed. before the party!  What fun! we touched, smelled, and looked at the choices. Lilacs it was.
I went back to the flower market on  Friday to pick  up the lilacs. When I brought them back to the shul I just stared at these huge bundles!  Then I got a text from Adelaid that said OMW!!
Phew!  After all the vases were done and the herbs were in the pots I just prayed that it would all last for Sunday.
The temperature in the shul was kept nice and cold.  All went well!
The most important thing  was that my son was happy and so proud of his barmitzvah.  He thanked me again and again!
I am so lucky to have good friends that share their and time expertise with me !
It was a beautiful morning with wonderful friends and family!’ Claudia Bildirici





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3 Unique Shabbat Tables by Shelly Laniado

shabbat table settings

3 Unique Shabbat Tables by Shelly Laniado

1 Comment 07 May 2012

Shelly Laniado is known to be the ultimate Jewish Hostess. I’ve heard that her table decor ideas are never the same, from one Shabbat to the next. Every week her centerpiece, flowers, placemats, table cloth, table runners,linen napkins, and napkin rings, are always a unique surprise. Here’s a peek into Shelly’s dining room- Three weeks in a row! 

Classic elegance!

 Glass chargers from Ikea add another dimension layered beneath a vase with pink lilies.

Botanicals in mini vases.

 Shelly used plexiglass from Ikea as a table runner,  and sprinkled Swarovski crystals across for a sparkly effect. Very pretty!

Syrian style mazza, always served before a Shabbat meal! A favorite for all!

Fish Fillets with Olives and Oregano

kosher fish recipes, kosher pareve recipes, kosher recipes

Fish Fillets with Olives and Oregano

No Comments 07 May 2012

Re-post from 2010- A classic!

A delicious easy weeknight recipe adapted by gourmet kosher cook Raquel Franco from Thanks Raquel!

  • 4 (1 1/4-inch-thick) pieces white-fleshed skinless fish fillets, such as halibut (6 oz each)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 very thin lemon slices
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup pitted brine-cured green olives such as picholine, halved lengthwise (2 oz)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano or 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • Special equipment: a 2 1/2-qt shallow ceramic or glass baking dish
  1. Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Pat fish dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sear fillets, skinned sides down, until browned well, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer, seared sides up, to baking dish (reserve skillet), then top each fillet with a slice of lemon.
  3. Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Boil 30 seconds, then pour around fish. Scatter olives around fish and bake, uncovered, until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 12 minutes.
  4. Transfer fish to a platter, then whisk lemon juice, oregano, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil into cooking liquid in baking dish. Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over fish.

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Baby Joyce’s Pink Lacy Ballet Themed Birthday Party

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, birthday parties, Dessert Buffet Bars, parties

Baby Joyce’s Pink Lacy Ballet Themed Birthday Party

1 Comment 05 May 2012

 Check out some more dessert bar pics HERE. More to come this week!

Last chance to send in your dessert bar pics to WIN an

AUTOGRAPHED COPY of the Amy Atlas Sweet Designs Brand NEW Book!

Send them to marlene (at)

Subscribe NOW and you can be the book of the month winner.

Just click HERE and get The Jewish Hostess weekly newsletter, filled to the brim with great Jewish holiday recipes, and gorgeous table settings.


Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It

Grandma Joyce Wolf put a lot of detailed touches to this sugar sweet event for the first “Joyce” granddaughter in the family. I’m especially loving the height variations on the shades of rosy pink dessert table, the hanging ballet slippers from the chandelier, the lacy pink placemats peeking through the clear glass trays, the individual fruit cups, the personalized tulle wrapped cookies, the melt in your mouth cotton candy cones, the chocolate multi colored drizzled strawberries, and the melange of pink candies in an array of glass containers. What did I leave out??? Comment below! Marlene


Syrian Atayef Dessert (ricotta filled pancake  drizzled with rose water syrup)

Krabeej Syrian Dessert (cinnamon and nut filled pastry)


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Meeting Amy Atlas, the Dessert Diva in Bloomingdales

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, Dessert Buffet Bars, parties

Meeting Amy Atlas, the Dessert Diva in Bloomingdales

1 Comment 03 May 2012


Last week I ventured over to Bloomingdales in NYC to catch a glimpse of Amy Atlas signing her sparkling brand new book Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It. I must tell all of you that I was so inspired by Amy who is gracious, soft spoken and unassuming. She greeted me with a warm hug and and a huge smile, and I got that feeling that you feel when you catch up with an old high school friend.
Of course, if you’ve been following The Jewish Hostess, you know that Amy Atlas has offered a free SIGNED copy of SWEET DESIGNS to the most creative dessert bar submitted to our site. As a special treat to the winner, AMY ATLAS has ALSO offered to feature our WINNER on her famous blog,

So keep sending your dessert bar pics to marlene (at)! Winner to be picked by the end of May 2012.

Check out some of the gorgeous decadent DESSET BARS sent in by our hostesses HERE.

Keep checking for new dessert bar posts every day!

Some of Amy’s sweet tips at her Bloomingdale’s dessert bar presentation:

  1. Firstly, choose your color palette, and a theme. For this dessert bar, Amy collected all of her husband’s pink and navy men’s ties, (and purchased some extras from Bloomies), and easily laid them across the width of her dessert table. Its a great reminder that sometimes the coolest displays can come from mundane items that stare us in the face every day.
  2. Its ok to mix fine china with glassware and colors from opposite ends of the spectrum. Just stay true to your theme and shape patterns within the table.
  3. White platters are an easy basic. They are so easy to dress up to match your theme. Line them with patterned paper that you can buy online, or print up on Etsy.
  4. A vertical element is essential for visual interest. We don’t want our tables looking like flat pancakes as a first impression when our guests enter the room.
  5. Always create visual interest. Use one cake plate with a dome, and one without.
  6. Of course, keep low lying desserts within reach of your guests. We don’t want the entire cupcake tower toppling when someone reaches for a low lying creme puff that’s stationed way in the back.
  7. Shaped your candy and printables to mimic the theme. Here, Amy used the triangular and diamond argyle pattern on her hubby’s ties as pattern inspiration.
  8. Symmetry of the table is so important for the WOW factor of your table. Take a step back and make sure that the desserts are distributed evenly heigh twise and quantity wise on both sides of the table.
  9. Colorful edibles such as rock candy will add fantastic interest to an empty vase, various containers, or as a punch to your candy platter. Have fun, and search your supermarket’s candy shelves for visually interesting sweets.
  10. Think out of the box. Be adventurous! Put strawberry mousse in votives, use wine decanters as a vase. Instant tower cake plate! Glue a cake dish right on top of a pretty candlestick and voila!
  11. Check out more pics from the book signing at Bloomingdales with Amy HERE!


that’s me! photo by Judith Rae




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A Summerry Burlap/Raffia/Pink Birthday Party by Tiffany Chehovah

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, parties

A Summerry Burlap/Raffia/Pink Birthday Party by Tiffany Chehovah

No Comments 02 May 2012

Thanks Tiffany, these pictures are worth a thousand words! The burlap/pink combo is such a nice contrast of texture and color. Great inspiration for the upcoming summer! 

I will add this one to our dessert pics entries for AUTOGRAPHED COPY of the Amy Atlas Sweet Designs Brand NEW Book!

Check out some more dessert bar pics HERE. More to come this week!

Last chance to send in your dessert bar pics! Send them to marlene (at)

Subscribe NOW and you can be the book of the month winner.

Just click HERE and get The Jewish Hostess weekly newsletter, filled to the brim with great Jewish holiday recipes, and gorgeous table settings.


Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It

“Hi Marlene, Here is a dessert/ candy bar I made for my daughters 9th birthday.
P.S. I love Amy Atlas and would love to win her book!”







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A Winter White Engagement Party by Paula Benz

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, Dessert Buffet Bars, engagement parties, parties

A Winter White Engagement Party by Paula Benz

No Comments 02 May 2012

“Hi Marlene,

For my engagement, the theme was white and black with silver accents. (you can’t really tell from just the dessert table!) It Couldn’t have been done without the help of party planner Yvette Hanan she really is amazing at what she does. As for desserts, bakers Shirley Mamiye and Mari Gindi made individual brownies, napoleons, cupcakes, tiramisu, sugar cookies and more… The marzipan desserts featured in this pic were all custom ordered  and brought in by my family from Panama. Paula Benz”

Paula your party was stunning! I will add this one to our dessert pics entries for AUTOGRAPHED COPY of the Amy Atlas Sweet Designs Brand NEW Book!

Check out some more dessert bar pics HERE. More to come this week!

Last chance to send in your dessert bar pics! Send them to marlene (at)

Subscribe NOW and you can be the book of the month winner.

Just click HERE and get The Jewish Hostess weekly newsletter, filled to the brim with great Jewish holiday recipes, and gorgeous table settings.


Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It


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