The Kosher Home

 

Mexican Fiesta Purim Seudah

 

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Go South of the Border for your Purim Seudah!  It falls on a Sunday, so no excuses!  CreativeJewishMom collaborates with Jamie Geller to help you create the perfect Mexican Fiesta Seudah with everything from the colorful vase to the poblanos. Ole!

It all starts with the right tablecloth, in this case, a Mexican blanket. and some bright crepe paper flowers. If you can’t find a Mexican blanket, any colorful (preferably woven) table cloth can certainly work.  Bring out all the colorful dishes you own, paint some whimsical styrofoam fruit, and make some napkin rings from plastic bottles and a recycled bleach bottle to match. Just look how great this table looks! If you don’t have any colorful glasses, or would like to add some to your table, it is super easy and a great project for the kids.


 

Adventures With My Pressure Cooker

 

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What is round, eco-friendly, and full of hot air? Not Al Gore.  A pressure cooker!  A pressure cooker is a pot with a locking lid that creates an airtight seal to suppress the steam created when food heats up.  It allows liquid to boil at 250°F rather than the usual boiling point of 212°F.  The higher temperature reduces the cooking time for most foods and the steam tenderizes the ingredients making it an ideal cooking method for soups, stews, rice and beans.

I’ve heard pressure cookers are a convenient cooking tool, but I didn’t know much about them.  I also heard scary stories about exploding pressure cookers!  Last year, at a nutrition workshop, I met a colleague who was raving about her pressure cooker.  It was easy to use, cooked foods in half the time and safe, she explained.  It was time to investigate.  I learned that the stories of pots exploding were decades old, when manufacturers used inferior materials to save money.  The days of exploding pressure cookers are over, the modern pressure cooker is filled with safety mechanisms that provide all the advantages of pressure cooking without the risk of sauce on the ceiling.


 

SodaStream – The New Bubbly

 

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When I was a child growing up, there were frequent visits to my grandparents apartment in the Bronx, New York, for dozens of memorable holiday meals. And while the drinks on the table at our yom tov gatherings in suburban Long Island were soda in all kinds of 1960’s pop-art colors (think lime green, razzy purple and cherry red), the tablescape at my grandma’s house was noticeably different. For one thing, there were lacy tablecloths, dainty silver spoons, tea cups made of glass, china plates with gold rims (no plastic or paper here!) lots of sugar cubes – and not a soda bottle to be seen. The choice of drink was seltzer, an unflavored, bubbly fizzy thing that the adults guzzled and the kids avoided at all costs. We did try doctoring it up with lots of sugar cubes and sliced up oranges but we never managed to make it palatable. We would eventually become cranky enough so that our good-natured Grandpa would take us downstairs to the corner grocery and let us pick out a few bottles of soda (this was way before Snapple, Vitamin Water and organic Pomegranate juice hit the market).

Fast forward a generation and we find ourselves around the holiday table, with our octagenarian-parents, a tableful of children and bottles of…seltzer. If you are like me, in pursuit of healthful, kosher products, you are probably looking for natural products that eschew artificial dyes, too much sugar and ingredients that you would need a freshman chemistry textbook to pronounce. And, somehow it just didn’t seem right to eat Jamie’s delicious Brisket in Wine Sauce and wash it down with Coke!


 

DIY Kosher – 4 Floral Shavuot Crafts...

 

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When Shavuot rolls around, most people think blintzes and cheesecake.  While Rivky Koenig, author of Crafting Jewish (Artscroll 2008), loves the holiday’s traditional dairy cuisine, too; flowers are the first thing that comes to her mind.

“Everything is so beautiful and fresh this time of year,” says Koenig, who recently launched a new line of Jewish craft supplies on craftingjewishstyle.com.  “Adding a floral touch to the holiday is an easy way to get creative for Shavuos.”


 

DIY Kosher – Lag BaOmer Crafts for the Whole...

 

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When Lag BaOmer rolls around, picnic baskets and bonfires take center stage, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting creative with these nifty holiday projects.

While the 33rd day of the Omer may not be a crafty holiday, all it takes is a little imagination—and a love of all things Jewish—for Laurie Bellet, an art specialist from Oakland Hebrew Day School, to come up with fabulous art fun.


 

DIY Kosher – How To Make The Perfect Pesto...

 

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On a hot June day, I open the freezer in my mother’s kitchen looking for a tray of ice. Instead of clear, slippery cubes, I find green, coarse ones. Although I am eight years old, I am puzzled how the cubes changed color and texture overnight.

At dinner that evening, my mother brings out a plate of steaming pasta the same verdant shade as the cubes. Like many cooks, she makes batches of pesto when basil is in abundance during the summer, storing and freezing them in ice trays and transferring them to Ziploc bags for use during the fall and winter. And so began my love affair with pesto.


 

DIY Kosher – Fresh Fruit Topiary for Your...

 

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PlaceholderAfter all that cleaning and cooking, why leave your seder table looking  drab? Easy-to-make fresh fruit topiaries are perfect centerpieces.

Topiaries are multi-dimensional “mini trees” fashioned from flowers, fruits and greenery. These gorgeous centerpieces herald spring in all its beauty while adding a unique touch of elegance to the Passover seder.


 

DIY Kosher – Purim Crafts, Costumes &...

 

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Purim is Rivky Koenig’s favorite time of year. When this scrapbooking specialist, who recently launched a new line of Jewish-inspired scrapbooking supplies, wrote her first book, Crafting Jewish, Purim was the hardest chapter to write.

“We came up with so many crafts for Purim that it was difficult to pick and choose which crafts to include,” says Koenig, of her book. “Purim gives people a wonderful opportunity to express their creativity. Every year I get inspired by seeing what my friends and neighbors do.”


 

DIY Kosher – Tu Bishvat Crafting with the...

 

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Laurie Bellet, an art specialist at Oakland Hebrew Day School, loves when Tu Bishvat rolls around. Besides the dried fruits and nuts, she uses this opportunity to fuse crafting and nature.

“Tu Bishvat crafts are a wonderful ways to help kids to get in tune to God and the natural world,” says Bellet. “When you look at a tree, it’s so easy to form a simplistic mental image of it. But really, there are many individual elements to a tree, leaf or flower. It takes real focus to understand the different components.”


 

Meal Planning: Instead of Leftovers-Think “...

 

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As a kid, I was accustomed to finding strange items in the fridge. Three peas in a Ziploc bag. Four tablespoons of mashed potatoes packed into a small container.  Salvaged brisket marinade in an oddly labeled pickle jar.

At the time, I didn’t realize this was the handiwork of my mother who saves leftovers of all shapes and sizes and reuses them in creative ways.


 

DIY Kosher – Creative Chanukah Crafts for...

 

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Chanukah is a perfect time of year for the family to bring out dreidels, gelt, and craft supplies.


 

Do It Yourself Purim Cooking

 

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Purim is all about being creative. Though it’s easy to buy candy and bakery hamantashen, go the extra mile by making unexpected treats your friends will relish.

Remember, just because you want to present mishloach manot gifts with a homemade touch, spending hours in the kitchen isn’t necessary.


 

Kitchen Playthings. Literally.

 

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As you use all sorts of gadgets to cook, have your kids be part of the fun. Not only is spending time in the kitchen a great way for the family to bond, but your kitchen can become a science lab, art studio or magic parlor depending on the gadget at hand.

And what kid won’t be enamored by the beating and whirring, spinning and scooping a well-stocked kitchen drawer beholds? So the next time you pull a pre-Shabbos cooking marathon, invite the kids to explore their creativity as you stir and chop, dice and sauté.


 

It’s Official: Kosher is the Best Thing...

 

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Well, better than sliced challah, anyway :) Recent information gathered from Mintel’s Global New Products Database for the year indicated that kosher foods are the leading the pack for new product launches!

What’s really interesting is that the growth isn’t entirely from the religious market.


 

Good Bye Desert, Hello Hawaii!!!

 

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For 40 years the Jews traveled the Sinai desert in search of a future, now Jews around the globe are in search of a place to relax. There’s one problem: No kosher food. Search no further because we have found the solution: Yeahthatskosher.com. Dani Klein, author of the “Yeah That’s Kosher” blog, has created a source of information for the kosher traveler. With a narrative description of his personal voyages, Dani shows us how to travel, the Kosher way. In his last trip to The Galapagos Islands, Dani explains how, “There are no kosher restaurants in the Galapagos Islands, not even vegetarian or vegan ones.” He mentions joining a kosher tour, but there is one more solution. Kosher.com has a variety of kosher meals available online. Travelers have the option of having there meals shipped to there destination, or bringing them along. Don’t get stuck or change your planes because you can’t find kosher food. Plan ahead with Yeahthatskosher.com, and kosher.com.