Tag archive for "Mishloach Manot"

5 Brand New DIY Mishloach Manot Ideas for Purim Gifts

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

5 Brand New DIY Mishloach Manot Ideas for Purim Gifts

4 Comments 03 March 2015

As Purim gets wrapped up, savor these last minute creative Purim mishloach manot DIY themes by Esther O Designs:
PALETTE MISHLOACH MANOT:
With the enormous variety of colorful gumballs on the market today enjoy creating this palatable treat-a winner for sure!
(Stick gumballs to palette with a drop of icing)
Mishloach Manot 3, The Jewish Hostess
PILLOW TREAT BOX:
Mishloach Manot 4, The Jewish Hostess
Pillow boxes are perfect for your kids to present their Mishloach Manot.Easy to fill,budget friendly and oh so practical!You and your children (and their frinds!) will surely love these.
 
COFFEE/DANISH MISHLOACH MANOT:
Mishloach Manot 6, The Jewish Hostess
Who can resist a special treat on the go? Teens-this ones for you! You’re sure to get a rave review.
TWIRLY LOLLIPOP MISHLOACH MANOT:
A childs dream come true! With these two simple treats-you can create a childs fantasy.
Mishloach Manot 2, The Jewish Hostess
PASTEL SPRING THEMED MISHLOACH MANOT
Mishloach Manot 1
Working with specific colors combinations,gives an overall uniformed,neat look. I love the look of this hot pink/yellow packaging but go ahead and pick the coloring that suits your fancy.
Supplies used:
large pillow box
hot pink/yellow tulle
rhinestone
flower lollipop
chocolate covered pretzels
crystal light with lemon candy(available at Oh nuts)
 Custom labels by: http://omgdesign.weebly.com/
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10 Fresh and Fabulous Last Minute Ideas for Purim

DIY, parties, purim recipes, baskets, and decor

10 Fresh and Fabulous Last Minute Ideas for Purim

6 Comments 03 March 2015

Looking for some last minute Purim ideas for Mishloach Manot? Here are some easy ones that you can use for inspiration this Purim holiday. If you are not really sure about the meaning of mishloach manot, just click here, and then continue reading below!

1- Make a ton of  mini biscotti and pile into a small or medium mason jar. Tie  a decorative ribbon and silk flower around a bottle of  inexpensive kosher sweet wine and have your kids deliver the combo to all of your friends and neighbors.

2- Give out warm kosher hot chocolate, skewered marshmallows, pink chocolate dipped rice krispy treats that are rolled into a ball (right after cooking the mixture)in a cute Wilton Striped Cupcake Box. Very cozy!:

3- My niece Shirley who is a professional baker, was inspired by Bakerella’s cookie mix in a jar, and turned the idea into a fabulous mishloach manot. Their entire family stood in an assembly line and filled and scooped until they were done with all of their beautifully filled jars.  It really was one of the prettiest mishloach manot that I received last year. You can also find more cookie mix-in-a-jar recipes from allrecipes.com.

Download pretty instructions to attach to your cookie-mix filled jar with this PDF from Bakerella.

4-Bake orange juice cakes in mini loaf pans and send them with a mini bottle of fresh orange juice  or a mini Tropicana juice box from your local grocer. You can find fruit themed tissue paper from Bags and Bows and for a real home squeezed feel, use a crate from an empty clementine box, or a Purim basket that was stashed in a storage bin during last year’s Passover cleaning.

5- Last year my sister in-law  invited us to her annual gala Purim party with a printed potholder that held a note explaining that all the moms invited were to be united in a cooking contest. What a great way to invite the family over without not actually having to cook anything! (lol…)  Each family was given a rolled up note with what main dish or salad to bring.  The “judges” chose the winner who received a gift certificate to Kitchen Kaboodles on Avenue U in Brooklyn. All in all, it was so much fun and easy to for everyone to walk in with part of the Purim seuda.

6- Need an adorable Purim card to attatch to your mishloach manot? My very creative friend Erika Sabbagh sent in this unforgettable idea. Dress your kids up in their Purim costumes, take a pic,  print it on cardstock within a card making or a label software, print, and you are done!

7- Make an sweet treat, pile into food bags, tie with raffia or a pretty ribbon, add a bottle of  kosher grape juice, a fresh daisy, place a decorative napkin inside a disposable 
paper loaf pan and deliver!

8-Borrow some of Martha Stewart’s Valentine’s Day ideas and transform them into your Purim Jewish hostess treats!

image via martha stewart

9- Be inspired by The Kitchn’s skillet toffee and 39 other homemade gifts. It’s a mouthwatering roundup of melt in your mouth treats. Any one of these delectables would make a unique Purim gift to send. Make sure to add two different items in your package so that your  recipient can make two prayers according to the Purim custom.

10- My good friend Allison  Srour made this healthy mishloach manor: baby spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette,
and veggie burgers with tehine!

Allison also asked me to tell you about her elegant tablecloths that she has for sale for Purim. They are elegant AND washable. Contact Allison at allison7396@aol.com

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A Kid’s Dream! An Edible Purim Candy Encrusted Maypole by Raquel Dabah

birthday parties, bridal showers, Dessert Buffet Bars, purim recipes, baskets, and decor, purim table settings

A Kid’s Dream! An Edible Purim Candy Encrusted Maypole by Raquel Dabah

3 Comments 01 March 2015

enjoy this re-post from the Dabah Purim Party  2012!

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Ok, I’m literally speechless as I post this spectacular Purim fantasy. I’m sure that every kid on the block will wish that Raquel Dabah was their grandma when she unveils this candy encrusted maypole on Purim Day.  This is also a great kid’s party or bridal shower idea. Raquel, you are amazing!!! Thank you for inspiring all of us!  Happy Purim!

Marlene

P.S. Obviously creativity is all in the family- Raquel’s daughter Joyce is well known for her home decorating talents. Check out her website HERE.

P.P.S. Attention Hostesses- Please share your Mishloach Manot pics and Purim Seuda pics with all of us! Send to my photos(at)thejewishhostess.com.

 

“Hi Marlene,

Every year on Purim, my mom dresses up, and my dad also wears a matching costume. My mom goes all out and invites everyone on the street to hear the Megillah and later have brunch at her home.  She always creates  a unique intricate theme. This year was the first time she singlehandedly created this maypole. It has stone encrusted ice cream cones, and packages of candy hanging from ribbons held together with baby hair clips, there are cellophane bags for the kids to come in and fill there bags with crunchie bars, marshmallows sour sticks, jellybeans, gumdrops, lollipops and more. She bags her own Hamatashen, sambusak, cheese cake and more.  It’s beautiful and delicious!”

Joyce Silverman

 

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Which Purim Mishloach Manot Theme is Your Favorite?

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Which Purim Mishloach Manot Theme is Your Favorite?

55 Comments 01 March 2015

 

Dear Hostesses, help us vote for the winner of the fabulous New York Times Passover Cookbook.

Winner with the most votes for Mishloach Manot or Purim table wins

this New York Times Passover Cookbook! A necessity on Passover!

Scroll down and comment below with your favorite!

No matter who wins this Passover Cookbook, I’d like to thank all of my hostesses for reading and submitting. This is just a great way for all of us to connect and share inspiration for our Jewish Holiday gatherings. Thanks again! Marlene

The New York Times Passover Cookbook : More Than 200 Holiday Recipes from Top Chefs and Writers

1-Thank you Tammy Parker- Your sushi looks so authentic! Love your Mishloach Manot idea!

“Rice Krispies, Sour Sticks, Nibs, Fruit by the Foot, marshmallows and gummy candies for the sushi, thinly sliced pink jelly beans for the ginger, green tinted fondant for wasabi, and chocolate “soya” sauce. Packed in authentic sushi containers, with chopsticks.” Tammy Parker

 2-Another great Mishloach Manot idea by Tammy Parker!

“Corn on the cob cupcakes in corn holder, hot dog cookie in hot dog holder (with chocolate hamantach), watermelon plate, checkered “tablecloth” napkin and a juice box in a cardboard bakery box with a handle on top for easy transport” Tammy Parker

3-Thank You Anna Herz!- “Hi Marlene, This is how we do it in Great Neck, NY! My husband and I keep kosher – so this tastes (according to our non Jewish friends ) just like pork prosciutto. We cure it ourselves. Tastes like bacon when dried but not smokey.”

4- “My mishloach manot is a humble but practical package that includes pasta sauce, pasta and Halutza olive oil. The oil is produced in Israel and it is available from israeliproducts.com“. Miriam Kairey

5- “Hi Marlene, Just wanted to share what I did for mishloach manot this year. I opted for something simple yet elegant.  I used mason jars and layered hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and Oreo cookies.  I covered the jars with fabric and suede cord, made simple instructions which I secured under the lid, printed some labels, and Voila! Hot cocoa in a jar!! Thanks, Dalia Dabah “

6- “Hi Marlene! This year I worked from the bottom up – Started off with a miniature wok, added mixed vegetable sushi with spicy mayo on the side, malt bear in coordinating colors, green tea, a mandarin orange, and a fortune cookie. I finished it off with chop sticks and a poem tying my theme all together! Happy Purim!! From Ilene S.”

 

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7- “This was my friend Marjorie Eida’s idea. I bought the olive oil holder, jar, and cheese holder form Amazing Savings. There’s also a little chefs knife if you can see the handle in the pic. The olive oil was infused with garlic and rosemary, and herbs. In the little glass jars are 2 different kinds of olives, black olive tapenade and a sun dried tomato jam. I put a fresh mozzarella ball and garlic chive cheese. Roasted spiced nuts,  and homemade zaatar chips.” Laura Cohen

8- “My name is Randi, and I am writing to you from Johannesburg, South Africa.
This is a much better picture, we made all different faces and pictures on the flowers, with edible markers and edible glitter. We made regular chocolate cup cakes and used green laffy taffy (called fizzers here)
My 10 year old daughter, Aliza  wrote a poem to go with it.

On the day of purim so long ago
Haman was hung on the gallows
Venahafochu, Mordechai did stay alive,
And all the Jews did survive.
A few days before,
Queen Esther made a law,
All Jews would fast, in order that the Jewish Nation would last.
Flowers are a symbol of happiness and life,
May the Jewish People know no more strife.”

9- “Hi Marlene,
Here’s my mishloach manot.I made the 2-tiered servers by gluing candlesticks to plates and bowls with
epoxy, spray painting the bottoms with silver paint (priming first), then gluing them together.
In the top bowl are meringues (I’m obsessed with them…the best guilt-free
dessert…I have them perfected so they are crispy on the outside and chewy
on the inside). On the bottom are vanilla and strawberry macarons with pareve cream cheese
buttercream (heaven! These little things live up to all the macaron hype).
Those mini cupcake holders are from The Peppermill.
The little almond cakes have marzipan in the recipe (really delicious), and
are covered with homemade marshmallow fondant. The flowers on top were made
with gum paste and white, silver, and pink edible pearls.
I developed and perfected all the recipes myself.
Everything was pink and white. The finished product was wrapped in
cellophane and tied with white grosgrain ribbon with silver dots. It looked
like a $100 but each one cost less than $5! “Victoria Dwek

10. By Stephanie Gammal- Cotton Candy Mishloach Manot Ice Cream Sundae- YUM!

11- Esther Sassoon’s Zebra ‘n Stripes Purim Seuda (click on the link to see)

12- Cowboy Themed Purim Seuda by Kim Tawil (click on the link to see)

13- Lucie Levy’s Color Infused Seuda (click on the link to see)

14- Raquel Dabah’s Candy Encrusted Maypole (click on the link to see)

15- Allegra’s Safari Seuda- (click on the link to see)

16- Estee Stern’s DIY Purim mask and Fudge sampler! YUM! CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE.

 

17- Sara Kasten’s Freilechen Purim-

18-Jeanette Cohen’s Olive Garden- Baguette, Grape Juice, and olives by Jeanette Cohen!

 

- Send in your Passover and Jewish holiday inspiration pics to my photos(at)thejewishhostess.com.

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Have A Wild Purim Party With the Mamiyes!

purim recipes, baskets, and decor, purim table settings

Have A Wild Purim Party With the Mamiyes!

13 Comments 01 March 2015

 

 

 

 

Purim Party -Centerpiece-2-550x366

 

 

Enjoy this re-post from 2012….

 

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Dear Hostesses, I know that your are all thinking that I am the one responsible for this magnificent jungle themed table, but no, I must admit- all of the credit goes to my official partner in crime, my sister in law A……Mamiye. About two weeks ago, she graciously invited my family over for a Purim Party Seudah, and thrilled to be let off the hook, I quickly accepted.

A….. always puts extra effort into her Purim Party theme and  literally involves every member of her family into the fun of the holiday. One year she came to my door dressed as the wicked witch, with themed mishloach manot in hand, and each kid (plus my brother in law) was in tow as another member of the Wizard of Oz family. (I was told  that if I posted the pictures, I would be excommunicated). Another fun year she made us all dress up in 80’s garb and I had a great time exhuming my old favorite lime neon green shoulder padded short jacket (the matching mini-mini skirt wouldn’t zip), and I blew off the dust from my beloved 3 inch hanging gem encrusted  gold costume earrings (why I still have all that stuff, I do not know). I PUFFED up my hair, and tried to replicate my  Stagelight blue eyeshadow (who remembers Blue Roses sticky lip gloss?). ( If this era applies to you,  click here and reminisce with fads from the 80’s). Anyways, Allegra treated us all to a whole 80’s experience that Purim holiday, including an entire homage to Rick Springfield and his music. (ahem).

 Fast forward to Purim 2012- Knowing that we would have to spotlight this holiday table on The Jewish Hostess, we quickly began to brainstorm.  An adventurous sarfari theme came to mind and we got to work. Digging into both of  our  storage closets, we dug up anything and everything that was wood, orange, green, exotic, and bright. Within three minutes my niece was at my door ready to pick up my tropical finds.

A….. went to work on the computer and in her own words “‎​Got the bandana’napkins’ and the hanging balls and animal print bags from Oriental Trading. Dirt cheap. Got the ‘bambu’ disposable plates from Paper goods. All the rest is yours and my stuff dug up from the archives!”

A….. spent the next two days singlehandedly setting up her table, and  so excited with how it was coming out, she called me at midnight to come check it out. 

Twenty years ago A….. and I used to dream of running to Bergdorfs, but now all we were thinking of was when we could find a minute to run to the flower market for some brights  that would polish off the table. We finally got there yesterday, parked illegally and within 10 minutes we had acquired a bunch of beautiful vines, leaves, and exotics, plus, of course, a parking ticket.

I ran to the fruit store (this was the one day of the year that Ouri’s didn’t have baby bananas!) and I grabbed some mangoes, kiwis, oranges, and pineapple, brought it to her house dumped them into our wood bowls, and within three minutes we were ready for photographer Gary Zindel to snap some photos.

Check it out A……’s Purim party efforts below and enjoy! Happy Purim! Marlene

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DIY Mishloach Manot Purim Cards- For That Extra Special Touch

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

DIY Mishloach Manot Purim Cards- For That Extra Special Touch

45 Comments 14 January 2013

Dear Hostesses,

Every Sunday, we venture out to different parts of Brooklyn and NYC to check out some of the new exciting neighborhoods.

Last week, we journeyed out to Smith Street in Downtown Brooklyn and the sweet sight of moms and dads wheeling strollers and Sunday morning coffee shops made me feel like I’d like to spend a little time discovering the area. Looking for some great shopping, I started to scout around. You might be thinking that great spending to me means Intermix, Scoop, Chanel, and Prada- (well, it doesn’t hurt to window shop!), but really fun shopping is when I can walk into a store like Paper Source, and feel like a kid again. Located at 102 Smith Street, it’s a crafter’s dream.   For anyone that’s really a kid at heart, Paper Source will allow you to create to your heart’s content. The friendly staff will help you choose from arrays of colored and patterned paper, glitter, stamps, and tons more. (They didn’t pay me for this post! REALLY!)

Paper_Source_Brooklyn

I decided then and there, that I would try to see if I could challenge myself to some DIY Purim cards. After browsing around in heaven for a couple of minutes, I realized that I had to speed it up seeing that my hubby and kids were getting a little fidgety. I quickly threw some coordinating card stock, a wine bottle stamp, gold ink, leaf patterned ribbon, raffia, a burlap ribbon, and a hole puncher into my basket. As the sales girl rang me up, I also grabbed some packaged glue dots which ended up being a key ingredient to my DIY cards.

That evening, I was so excited to rip open my Paper Source bags. I felt like I had just gotten home from the toy store. The best part of the whole night was that I put away my phone, my kids became a part of the process, and together we created a fantastic mess, plus the one of a kind cards below.

The secret to this scrapbooking style of card making is to layer, layer, and keep on layering. And if you make a mistake, then LAYER again!

For my mishloach manot this year, I am thinking of buying wine, grapes, and cheeses and mounding in a basket. The greens and purple and golds were a good choice for me.

The Jewish Hostess 2

Using the same colors and materials, we created several different designs featured below. Which one is your favorite? What colors would you choose for your own DIY Purim card?

 

PURIM,  DIY, The Jewish Hostess

Purim Card DIY 2

Purim Cards , Paper Source

Purim Cards

Purim Card DIY

P{urim Cards, DIY , Paper Source

Below are some inspiration boards by the pros at Paper Source. I snapped photos in the store so that I could grab some ideas later on.

Paper Source, The Jewish Hostess DIY 4

A hole puncher is a great tool to help you weave cord through any shaped card like the heart shape below:

Paper Source, DIY, The Jewish Hostess 5

See how their layers create such a professional and handcrafted look?

Paper Source, DIY, The Jewish Hostess1

Paper Source, DIY The Jewish Hostess 3

Stamps like the “Thank You” below can really make it look like you did the calligraphy yourself.

Paper Source, DIY, The Jewish Hostess 2

I hope you enjoyed my DIY Purim card. Even though life gets so hectic, its all about the personal touches in life. Whether we make our own Purim cards, lovingly pinch hammentashen, or tuck our kids in at night, its all about the memories that our kids take with them as they grow, and g-d willing raise their own families. HAPPY PURIM!!! XOXO

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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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How to Use A Cookie Press For Fun Purim Cookies

kosher dessert recipes, kosher recipes, parties

How to Use A Cookie Press For Fun Purim Cookies

2 Comments 16 January 2011

Looks like a new-fangled contraption, right? Truth is, the cookie press has been around for almost fifty years. Want to turn out buttery spritz cookies? How about homemade Milanos? Then you’re going to want to invest in one of these, and you will never have to reach for store-bought versions again.

The science behind the cookie press is pretty simple: fill the tube with cookie dough, and fit one of the metal disks at the bottom. Then, press the bottom of the tube right on to the cookie sheet, and press. When the dough comes out, it forms shapes corresponding to the disks. Flowers, hearts, squiggles, snowflakes – the designs that are available will vary depending on the brand you buy.

You can’t use just any cookie dough recipe here, since the dough has to be the right consistency to fit through the disks. I provide my recipe below, and most cookie presses come with a recipe in the box. For the press to work, your dough cannot be refrigerated. If you do need to make your dough in advance, make sure it comes to room temperature before filling the tube.

So what can you use your new contraption to make? How about a homemade version of those classic swiss fudge cookies from Stella D’Oro? Make the flower shape and then fill the centers with a little chocolate ganache.

What about your own version of Milanos? Two oval shaped cookies, sandwiched together with a little melted chocolate – voila! The opportunities for your new gadget are endless, and any of the varieties would be great to slip in to your Mishloach Manot for Purim. You can top your designs with sprinkles, colored sanding sugars or even pieces of fruit. You’ll get 10 phone calls asking how you made that cool design!

Buy here: Norpro Cookie Press

Recipe: Makes about 40 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add in the egg, vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
Stir in the flour.
Fill the cookie press with the dough and fit the disk on.
Press the cookies out onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 inch apart.
Bake on 375 F for about 10 minutes, until just lightly golden.
Transfer to wire racks until cool.
Decorate as desired!

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