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Do It Yourself Crafts for Your Seder

 

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For every Jewish holiday there are loads of crafts we can make with our kids or even on our own as adults.  It is fun to have our personalized items to use and our friend, Sarah Dahan, from CreativeJewishMom.com always has a amazing ideas.  Look through your collection and see what might be missing or which item has seen a better year.  You will find links to all of these crafts at the bottom of this page.  And don’t miss our Makot Matching Game.

Maybe it is time to make a gorgeous Bejeweled Wine Glass for Eilayu you can even dress up your regular wine glasses this way.


 

Passover Prep – Start Your Grocery Shopping

 

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By now you should have a room that is totally chametz-free where you can start to store your Passover groceries as you buy them. Matzah is something that needs to be bought as far in advance as possible, especially if you have a particular brand that you are partial to.  The later you leave it the more of chance there will be that the store will be sold out.

When I shop for Passover, I try to get all the goods that I will need for the whole 8 days. I would rather not have to go back to the store to buy anything else if I don’t have to. (One year I thought 144 eggs would be enough, and I ran out half way through the holiday, but that’s a story for a different time).


 

Passover Prep – New Clothes

 

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I don’t know what it’s like in your house, but my boys seems to all outgrow their dress clothes at the same time. We made a Barmitzvah a year ago and everyone got new suits and shirts and ties and shoes and everything in between. Within the last week I have noticed that they all need new stuff.

I am thrilled these boys are growing. But they are all different body types from each other and hand me downs just are not working any more. I have been looking online and taking suggestions from other moms on the best places to outfit the boys for Passover.


 

Seder Tablescape

 

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Dear Joy of Kosher readers,

On Passover, we strive to whip up the perfect hametz-free gourmet menu which a huge feat right after we survive meticulously scrubbing of every inch of our homes. With just a little bit of planning and imagination, we can save some energy to create our own unique Passover seder tablescapes which serves as an elegant backdrop for our delicious Passover meals.


 

Passover Prep – Order Your Meat

 

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Week one of preparation for this epic holiday wasn’t so bad, was it?

Now that we are organized we can move on to taking on tasks for Passover. It’s time to order the meat. Now, you don’t have to have your menus prepared to know exactly what you need – sometimes you need to buy the meat and poultry that’s available, and work your menu around that. But buy now – by next week EVERYONE else will be stocking up and the selection will be much smaller. If you plan on using Gefilte Fish frozen loaves – get those now too. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute.


 

Passover Prep – Weekend Chores

 

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This week we brought you many tips and tricks with a good dollop of advice on how to start your pre Pesach clean up. The idea has been to start early, be organized and not panic. We want you to get to the seder ready to enjoy it, not be so exhausted by overwork that you resemble a leaf of limp lettuce.

If you haven’t had the time this week to take care of any of the cleaning, set aside some time on Sunday – you can manage to do it all. Rope in the spouse and the children – assign chores. Every one can and should help.


 

Ingredient Spotlight: Horseradish

 

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Whenever we approach “Maror” at the Passover Seder, I see my little cousins cringe at the prospect of having to eat the bitter herb to remind us of the bitter work the Egyptians forced on the enslaved Hebrews. The horseradish we consume can even bring tears to your eyes if you have too much. By the end of the two Seders, there is usually enough horseradish to last for 3 or 4 more Passovers or preserved to be used with gefilte fish for the whole year.  The sale of bottled horseradish began in the 1860′s, but there is nothing like making your own.  Here are 2 different methods for preserving.

Drying: 1. Set oven to the lowest possible temperature. 2. Either slice the horseradish into uniform thickness, or grate using a box grater (this is how my leftover horseradish usually is anyway) 3. Lay out the horseradish in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven to dry. Check occasionally, until they are brittle to the touch. (**note–I don’t know how long this actually is) 4. Once fully dried, store in a dark airtight container on a dark shelf. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum seal the horseradish and store in the freezer. Mark with the date and discard after 6 months. Grated: 1. Grate the horseradish with a box grater. Be careful not to put your head too close or you will feel a rush of the released horseradish oils that will make your eyes tear. 2. Take a small clean jar that can hold 1/2-1 cup. Fill halfway with quality red, white, or light balsamic vinegar (1/4-1/2 cup). 3. Spoon the grated horseradish into the jar. Gently swirl with a bamboo skewer to make sure all pieces have been coated with vinegar. 4. Seal and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. Note: Homemade horseradish is usually stronger than store bought especially if you make it when it is very fresh and pungent. Here are some more ideas for how to use horseradish: -Sniff it when you have a cold–it will clear your sinuses right up! -Slice thinly using a mandolin and serve in salads. There are many varieties of horseradish, including a watermelon horseradish, which look beautiful when sliced and served this way. -Boil or steam the horseradish and eat it like you would a turnip or steamed carrots. The cooking process eliminates the pungent flavor of the horseradish, so for those who don’t like the flavor, this can be a great way to still benefit from the nutrition of the root vegetable, which is a great source of fiber.

Gefilte Fish Cakes with Horseradish Sauce


 

Passover Prep – Clean The Kitchen

 

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OK, now, it is still three weeks till Pesach and there is still a lot of chametz cooking to be done between now and then, so cleaning your kitchen NOW for Pesach is not going to happen. However, if you give it a good going over now – in a methodical manner – then when you are doing your final pre-Passover-Get-Rid-Of-Chametz-Scrub, it will go faster and easier.

Instead of waiting till the day before to self-clean the oven of a year’s worth of grime, set the self timer to go tonight, or while you are at work tomorrow. By the time you wake up / come home from work, the oven will have cooled down and you can get to work wiping it down. Don’t have a self cleaning oven? Easy Off is your friend. Do the same with the stovetop – clean it well now. Submerge the grates or the drip pans in hot soapy water and use the cleaning products that are right for your stove. If you get off the majority of the yucky stuff now, cleaning* and changing over the kitchen will be a breeze.


 

Passover Prep – Organize the Pantry

 

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Growing up we didn’t have a pantry (or a larder as it was called in London), but here in NY it seems almost everyone has some kind of food storage closet. Some are walk in closets, some are just a couple of kitchen cabinets earmarked for food storage. Every time I go on a cooking marathon I tell myself I need to organize the pantry so that I know what I have in stock.

Whether you sell your chametz or finish it up before Passover, now is the time to take inventory. See what you need to finish up – and plan your menus accordingly. If you still have most of a 10lb bag of flour – get baking! If you have a bountiful array of beans, make a chili, or a bean soup, or any bean dish.


 

Passover Seder Makot Matching Game

 

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The plagues with which the Egyptians were punished because they would not allow the Jews to leave Egypt are called the makot.  This fun matching game will help children remember the names of the plagues as well as what happened to the Egyptians during that time.  This game is quick and easy to make as well as to play. Laminating the cards will make them more durable; this can be done at a local copy shop.

Makot Matching Game


 

Passover Prep – Clean Out the Car!

 

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Some people leave cleaning the car till the last minute. However, I prefer to have this done way ahead of time, so that I can do my Passover shopping without worrying that there is any chametz left in my trunk that will *somehow* wend its way into my chametz-free groceries that I just spent the second mortgage on!

Now you could do it the easy way and just take the car to the local car wash and have them vacuum it inside and wash and wax it. Or, if you want to make sure that it is done properly you can do it yourself. (Or supervise the children doing it.)


 

Passover Prep – Let’s Get Started!

 

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Purim is over, so now we are allowed to mention the other P word – Passover, Pesach, whatever you call it, is less than four weeks away. No need to panic though – take it slow and steady. We will bring you advice and tips and tricks to get you through this preparation period.

When I start my cleaning – and let’s be honest, most of us use Pesach Cleaning as an excuse for spring cleaning too – I start with the closets….. I have the kids go through their closets and drawers (us parents do the same) for clothes they no longer wear, things they no longer use. We make piles – clothing still in good shape to be passed to the younger child, clothing still in good shape to be given away, clothing in bad shape to be cut into rags and used for cleaning.


 

A Pirate Purim Party

 

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Hi Everyone! I’m so excited for purim! It is my favorite holiday. I remember as a kid rushing around with my mom to get all the fun items for our family mishloach manot. My mom always came up with a poem, theme, or found a cute container. All these years later I’m still doing the same thing.

Every year I try to figure out what my kids will be interested in. Over the years we’ve done Pinkalicious, Dr. Seuss, dogs, and the list goes on and on. This year my kids decided they wanted to be Jake and the Never Land Pirates. I figured that would be easy. Get them all pirate costumes and we’ll do some sort of treasure hunt. As I started to plan I decided to take it one step further. The Usdan Family became the Shushan Pirates!


 

How To Make The Perfect Cocktail

 

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Purim is coming, we’re so happy, we’re gonna make cocktails! Now that the especially long February is over, it’s time to spring into March with some class. Here are two delicious cocktails with my tips on how to get the most out of your drink.

For a full list of cocktails for Purim click here.


 

Purim DIY packaging Ideas

 

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I am not the most creative person nor am I really very artistic, but I sure do appreciate the beautiful work of others.  I know the way I love to make delicious treats others like to create cute little containers to package them in.  Does anyone want to partner? I will make the treats and you make the packaging?  Let me know.

Anyways, over the past few months I realized that we can get so many great ideas for our Purim Mishloach Manot from everyone else’s holiday packages.  Take a look at some inspiring ideas and let me know if you decide to use one and when you will be sending them over.