Holidays

 

Swingin’ Sixties Seudah – A Hippie...

 

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Maybe it’s all the hype over the anniversary of the Beatles arrival in America. But suddenly I’m nostalgic over an era I never even lived through! I love the music, the handmade clothes, the beads and the spirit. And this year, we’re going back to the garden!

Coconut Ambrosia Hamantashen

Coconut Ambrosia Hamantashen


 

Thanksgiving Inspired Savory Hamantaschen

 

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Happy Thanksgiving…I mean, Happy Purim!!! Two of my favorite holidays have come together to create this unique Thanksgiving Hamantaschen. Layers of sautéed ground turkey and roasted squash stuffed in a rich savory dough flecked with fresh sage. It seriously doesn’t get any better for me. And I highly recommend making extra filling so you can eat the leftovers all week long.


 

10 Candy Recipes for Purim

 

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I’m a big fan of sending, or receiving, candy in my mishloach manot.  Although it is easier to find your favorite kosher candies in the supermarket, it is fun and rewarding to make your own candy at home.  Below are 10 DIY candy recipes.

 


 

A Cowboy Themed Menu

 

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Irony of all ironies, the year before we made Aliyah we were dressed like Israelis (don’t ask) and delivered mishloach manot full of pitas and hummus.   Then when I got to Israel I went for a cowboy and cowgirl costume for the family and made a down home all-American meal. Now, I’m not all that creative, and not all that country, I just stole a page out of my friend Aliza’s playbook. A few years ago she hosted a food-from-the-frontier shindig and together we created a menu similar to the one you see here. I’m not embarrassed to admit it because, on this side of the pond, I’ve got a whole new crew to share it with. These recipes already had a test run, and I know this meal is going to make y’all scream yeehaw (or at least yummy!).

sweet spicy chili

Sweet and Spicy Chili


 

Shabbat Menu – Eating The Clouds

 

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Finally, the Mishkan has been built and Aaron and his sons officially are anointed priests.  A cloud appears over the Mishkan to signify the divine presence.  To celebrate the completion of the Mishkan and the second book of the Torah we will rejoice with a cloud like dessert, Meringues.  You can make cookies, pavlova, pies or this amazing creation, the Baked Alaska!

wild rice chicken soup

Wild Rice Chicken Soup


 

Recipe Ideas For Your Mishloach Manot

 

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It is less than a month until Purim and time to get planning.  Every year we work to come up with new costumes, new hamantashen recipes, and new Seudah themes.  We also love to put together the perfect gift baskets to send our friends, from using recyclables to make our containers to Healthy Themed Mishloach Manot there is always something new to try.  Here are some homemade treats to include in your baskets this year.

Savories:


 

Gluten Free Purim Treats

 

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On the holiday of Purim we eat hamantashen and send baskets of goodies to our friends and families.  This has become much more difficult in the age of allergies that we are living in.  Most often the baskets are filled with fresh baked goods, luckily the gluten free options have come a long way and we have a slew of amazing Gluten Free Treats for you to include in your mishloach manot this year.  All the recipes can be found by clicking on the images.

PumpkinAppleButterRugelach

Pumpkin Apple Butter Gluten Free Rugelach


 

20 Unique Hamantashen Recipes

 

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During a leap year, when there are two Adars, it is said to be a time of increased simcha.  This extra month is a blessing and is giving me time to increase my simcha before Purim.  It also has given me more time to think about Hamantashen, those amazing litte hat-shaped cookies and all of the flavors I can fill them with.

 


 

Best Recipes for Shabbat Lunch

 

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The Shabbos lunch menu must feature make-ahead dishes that can withstand the oven-to-fridge-to-hot-plate-to-table cycle with leftovers returning right back to that revolving refrigerator door. Follows are a few of my secrets to Shabbos lunch success.

First thing’s first, the first course. I sometimes serve a bang it out starter akin to the last supper. You’d think that I think that we’re never gonna eat again. But I feel the first course is the most Shabbos lunch friendly and when done right allows to you to satiate the hungry humans around your table and simplify the main – which by all accounts is certainly the trickier of the two.


 

Why Are There Two Months of Adar and What is Purim...

 

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The Hebrew calendar allows us to track the Jewish year. Without that, we would not be able to celebrate the Jewish holidays at their correct time.

Unlike the other calendars in existence today, the Jewish calendar goes according to the moon. Once a month at Rosh Chodesh as the new moon appears, we restart counting the days in the month. The decision when to begin the new month used to be based upon the testimony of witnesses verifying they had seen the new moon in the sky. The Beis Din would light fires on mountains informing the people of the new moon. After a while the Sadducees began to light fake fires on mountains to confuse people and stop the information flowing from city to city. That is when they created a fixed calendar that we still use today.


 

A Healthy and Sweet Tu B’shvat Treat

 

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I grew up in a ‘healthy’ house. What is a ‘healthy’ house, you may ask? Well, my mother, a former nurse, believed that we were only to put food that was good for our body into our mouths. There was never candy or junk food to be found in our home. There was no sugar cereal in the cupboards. There was no soda or juice in the fridge.

If we were thirsty, we drank the same liquid we used to wash our hands with, bathe in, wash our clothes and fill the dog’s bowl with: H2O from the tap. Despite all the limitations on what we could eat, my mother was a good cook.


 

Favorite Tu B’Shevat Recipes

 

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This year Tu B’Shevat, translated as the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, begins in the evening on Wednesday January 15, 2014 and ends in the evening on Thursday January 16th, 2014.  This “New Year for the Trees” holiday marks the beginning of the slow process when the trees begin blossoming and flowering with new life and new fruit.  In our home we find it especially meaningful to eat something from all of the Shiv’at HaMinim, seven species of the land of Israel – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates – that have a special significance in Judaism.

So now that you know what’s what, I’m sharing my favorite recipes featuring each of the seven species.


 

Gluten Free and Natural on Tu B’Shevat

 

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It is customary to celebrate Tu B’Shevat by eating the Seven Species of fruit and grains which are native to the land of Israel. When I think of Tu B’Shevat I think of slicing open a pomegranate, eating the seeds over Greek yogurt and drizzling it with honey for breakfast, while for dinner I’d imagine Moroccan chicken marinated and then baked in olives and prunes.

Tu B’Shevat is a special day not only for celebrating trees but also for celebrating everything the earth provides for us; all of our fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, wheat and barley, etc. Tu B’Shevat is a day to celebrate our health and maybe even re-evaluate our eating habits.  The perfect time to introduce new fruits and vegetables into our daily meals.  After all Tu B’Shevat is a new year, and on New Years we make new resolutions.


 

Tu B’Shevat Celebration Menu

 

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One week from now is the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, beginning the evening of January 15th.  For many years in my life this holiday went unnoticed.  Of course, I remember the celebrations in school with the hard to chew boxer that you either loved or hated and the annual planting of trees (I grew up in Florida, so we could plant this time of year and not freeze to death), but in the years between my being in school and having kids, I will admit I didn’t do much celebrating.  Now, I realize that there many ways we can go about celebrating this holiday, whether it be the smallest gesture of making a seven species granola (thanks for the great idea in the comments here) or going all out with a Tu B’shevat Seder.

Tu B’Shevat literally means the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat.  It is the birthday of the trees in Israel.  The day that the trees begin their new fruit bearing cycle.  So we celebrate by eating the fruits of the trees.  Really any fruit counts, but it is tradition to eat the kinds that are mentioned in the Torah when praising the bounty of Israel: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.  Some go even further and like to include the full seven species of Israel which adds wheat and barley to the fruits.   There are also many kabalistic rituals around this holiday which have become more popular recently and is the reason many people hold a seder, get a guide to making your own seder from Hazon, here.


 

Bourbon Pine Nut Baked Camembert

 

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Bourbon Pine Nut Baked Camembert Posted 01/05/2014 by Melinda Strauss
This fancy French dish is actually much easier to make than you think! With pre-made pastry or crescent dough, a wheel of Les Petite Fermieres camembert cheese and just a few ingredients mixed together in a bowl, you can create this beautiful show-stopping appetizer.

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