Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We love Wikipedia around here and use it often. This amazing resource is free and also free of advertising. How do they do it? By having a volunteer staff and by relying on donations. Below is a message from founder Jimmy Wales that I think that anyone who has used Wikipedia should read. I have also included this link if you decide to take the plunge and make even a small donation.

From Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Links

Here are a few of the things that I have seen around the web this holiday season. I hope you will enjoy them. Happy holidays!

1. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a major breastfeeder. I love The Tonight Show's version off eight maids a-milking . It starts at 1:52.

2. Check out Eat In Good Health a cooking show produced through the Yiddish Forward. It's in Yiddish with English subtitles. I love that the hosts are not little old Bubbes or Chasidic!

3. These are the cutest potato latkes I have ever seen.  I have always wondered if you could make latkes with yukon gold potatoes. They can be found at Shiksa In The Kitchen.

4. I love garlands and I love felt so of course I'm a fan of these felt Hanukkah garlands on Felt So Cute 

5. Emily from Flowing With My Ducklings made this very Waldorfy menorah with her son Yoav from a wood block and part of a fallen bay laurel tree.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Potato Latkes 2011

Potato latkes are not just for Chanakah around here. I make them for dinner throughout the year and serve them with a big green salad. I posted a recipe for potato latkes two years ago but noticed that my recipe has changed a bit. Remember that if you are going to freeze them to serve at a later date fry until the are just beginning to turn golden. They will continue to brown when you heat them up. This recipe makes about fifteen three inch latkes.

1. Food Processor
2. Fine grating blade. This does not usually come with the food processor so you will need to buy one. I used to grate the potatoes by hand and it was a big pain. The fine grate makes the latkes closer to the hand grated potatoes than the standard size grater does.
3. Unbleached cheese cloth
4. Frying pan and spatula

5 lbs Russet potatoes
5 eggs
1/3 cup of sprouted flour (you can use regular flour or another starchy substitute. you are gluten free)
1 large onion
salt and pepper to taste
Palm oil or refined, expeller pressed coconut oil

1. Grate the onion in the food processor and put it in the mixing bowl

2. Squeeze some lemon juice into the grated onion and combine.

3. In the bowl that you will be putting the potatoes after they have been shredded scramble the eggs and put it aside. 

4. Peel 1 potato and cut it into large chunks. 

5. Shred the potato in the food processor and immediately add it to the onion and lemon mixture and mix it up. This will keep the potatoes from turning brown. Continue til all the potatoes are shredded

6. Put half of the potato mixture in a piece of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can and put it in a clean bowl. Add them to the scrambled eggs and toss. This will again keep your potatoes from turning brown before frying. Repeat with the second half of the potatoes.

7. Add flour, salt and pepper and mix until it is combined. I like to use my hands!

8. Heat the oil in the frying pan on a medium flame.

9. Fry latkes until they are golden brown on both sides and drain on paper towels.

10. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Gifts for Kids

Hanukkah has been on the back burner this year because much of my extra time has been spent planning R's Bat Mitzvah. We are having a party on January 22nd and on February 4th she will be leining (chanting from the Torah) at a women's tefillah (prayer) service. We are all very excited. I did, however, want to post some things that I think would make nice holiday gifts for kids this year.

             Limited Edition Felt Fruit SetFelt Food Lunch or Dinner with a hamburger, chicken leg, and ravioli

Etsy is one of my favorite places to finds gifts and if you have not checked it out you really need to. This wool blend felt food is from Becky M's shop. Felt food is so much nicer than plastic and I find that the kids prefer playing with it. Molly, our dog, also likes felt better than the plastic and has unfortunately eaten our chicken leg!

                                The kid's book of creative lettering [Book]

All of the girls have are having lots of fun with The Kids Book Of Creative Lettering. I love all of the creative cards, signs and pictures they have been making using the ideas from the book.

Art DollsWool Felt Bug Kit

I just ordered the Artterro Art Doll Kit and the Wool Felt Bug Kit for the girls and have not yet received it. I still wanted to write about these kits because they really look great. I've been wondering when someone would put together a more eco looking craft kit. I will update you when my kits arrive but I'm sure the girls will have lots of fun with these.
   Jenga Wood Block Game -  Hasbro - Toys"R"UsJenga Wood Block Game -  Hasbro - Toys"R"Us

We have had Jenga since Z was little and it is still one of our favorites. I can't remember when Z started playing it but D was 5 (even though it says for 8 and up). Even I like playing this game and I don't like to play alot of games!
          Arsenal Crest Hoody ImageNike Arsenal Skills Ball  Image

Z is a huge soccer fan and Arsenal London is his team. If you have a soccer fan that you need to buy a gift for then Eurosport is the place to go. They have everything that a soccer fan would want in youth and adult sizes.
                                   Razor RipStik Caster Board - Silver -  Razor - Toys"R"Us
R is obsessed with her friend Ts RipStik. It's not like a regular skateboard. You have to do this twisty motion to get it to move and it's a real workout. They like to ride it on Shabbat in T's basement that has lots of long halls. I just ordered R one for her birthday.

We give our kids one 5 dollar bill each night of Hanukkah no matter what their age is. It's more than enough for them to buy themselves something nice but it's also not over the top.

So there's this years list. Do any of you have some gift ideas that you would like to share?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two Links About Food

Here are two links about food in America that are both hilarious and kind of sad. This link on NPR tells us how congress wants to include pizza as a vegetable in school lunchesand This link is to a Freakonomics podcast on American turkeys. Apparently our insatiable appetite for turkey breast have lead us to breed turkeys who have breasts so large they can no longer reproduce naturally. Oy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stained Glass Falling Leaves

I love to decorate the window in my dining room. It's not big but it gets nice light all day long so anything that is translucent looks pretty on them. In honor of fall the girls and I made a few leaves out of black construction paper and yellow, orange and red tissue paper. Both R who is 11 and T who is 8 were able to do the whole project by themselves (although I watched T very closely when she used the exacto knife!) and D who is 6 just needed me to cut out the leaves for her.

Black construction paper
Tissue paper
Glue Stick
Exacto Knife
Self healing mat to protect the surface that you are using the exacto knife on

1. Draw a picture of a leaf. I made a beech tree leaf since they are easy to cut out.

2. Using the exacto knife cut out the leaf. This first leaf will also serve as your stencil so that all the leaves are the same size.

3. Draw a line with your glue stick around the outside of the cut out, right on the edge.

4. Put a cut out a piece of tissue paper over the cut out and turn over the paper.

5. Cut out the leaf leaving a border of about an 1/8th of an inch.

6. Repeat using the first cut out leaf as your stencil.

7. Hang on your window using just a touch of the glue stick

Friday, October 28, 2011

8:04 AM In A Kitchen On The Upper West Side

The holidays are finally over and we have been trying hard to get back to normal around here. We are finally getting back on schedule and by Thursday everyone was able to get out of bed when the alarm went off. In comparison to getting ready to serve six Yom Tov and Shabbat meals for past 3 out of 4 of weeks preparing for Shabbat was a breeze. I am also particularly glad not to be running around and trying keeping our home clean lest anyone come over and see what really goes on around here. 

I am really trying to be more relaxed about the state of my home when people come over although it's not easy. I rush to clean the living room, dining room and kitchen if we are having guests lest anyone know that I am in fact a bit of slob. 

I don't know why so many women feel the same way that I do but I do know that when we rush to clean up when someone is coming over all we do is raise expectation. This is why I have decided to post this picture of what my kitchen looks like each and every morning after everyone leaves home. It's time to for us to lower the expectations!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chai Spice Honey Cake

Honey cake is a traditional Rosh Hashana dessert  It occurred to me a few weeks ago that chai spices would work well in a honey cake. I looked around to see if such a recipe existed but I could not find any. There were honey cake recipes and chai spice cake recipes but no honey chai spice ones. It then occurred to me that I should just make a honey cake and switch the coffee to tea and the traditionally used spices to chai spices (this honey cake was a major influence!) The result is this cake.

3 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of medium to course sea salt
3 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cardamon
1/2 teaspoon of star anise (I did have to grind this myself in a coffee grinder since I could not find any ground star anise)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used refined coconut oil)
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup of Tazo Chai Spice tea

1. Brew the tea. In order to end up with 1 3/4 cups of tea I used 12 teabags  and 2 cups of hot water and then let it sit for 5 minutes. I also made sure to squeeze out all the extra water form the teabags so that I would get a strong brew. Let it cool.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

4. Add the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and tea and mix on low until well combined.

5. Pour the batter into 3 8x4 pans lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top springs back when you touch it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moroccan Carrot Salad

On the first night of Rosh Hashana there is a custom to eat "omen foods" that will hopefully bring blessings to those who are eating them. The most well known of these is dipping an apple in honey for a sweet and good new year. Another one of the of the omen foods that we eat are carrots. We eat carrots because the Hebrew word for carrots, gezer, sounds like the Hebrew word g'zar which means decree. We hope that this will bring us a good one for the new year!

You do need to plan ahead because the salad needs to marinate for a day of two before you can serve it.

2 lbs of carrots sliced 
2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. of cumin
Thinly sliced and lightly chopped fresh Serrano or jalapeno pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper
fresh chopped cilantro

1. Lightly steam the carrots. 

2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, hot pepper, cumin, salt, pepper. 

3. Put the carrots and the dressing in a large baggy and mix up the ingredients.

4. Place the baggy flat in the refrigerator and turn it over a couple of times over the next day or two.

5. When you are ready to serve bring to room temperature. Using a slotted spoon put the carrot salad into a bowl, toss with the fresh cilantro and serve

This post has been linked to Real Food Digest

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top 10 Favorite Things We Did In Jerusalem

For the last and longest part of our trip we rented an apartment in Baka on Derech Ha Rakevet. It was lovley and we could not have asked for a better location. It was on a nice quiet street that was one block away from Emik Refaim and a 7 minute walk to Derech Beitlechem. It was great for us Manhattanites who are used to being able to get what we want right away. I imagine it's a little bit like living in Park Slope. You can live on a nice quiet street but 7th Avenue is right down the block. 

Derech Ha Rakevet. They just renovated an old rail road track and made it into a beautiful walkway. Kind of like a mini High Line!

The think I really like about Jerusalem is that it is not an enormous city like New York. It kind of reminds me of a smaller American city like Portland or Seattle. It has everything that you want in a city such as good restaurants and lots of culture but it is a little more mellow and life seems more relaxed and less frenetic. Below is our top 10 list:

1. Hamster balls in the Malka Mall!

2. Eating at the all kosher food court at the Malka Mall!

3. Going to the kosher Aroma that was a 3 minute walk from our apartment.

4. Davening and dinner on Shabbat at Netivat Aryeh, over looking the Kotel (Western Wall).

 5. Visiting the Old City, including the tunnel tour under the Kotel (Western Wall)
The Kotel
Plaza in front of the Kotel
Street in the Old City

Tunnels under the Kotel

6. Walking, shopping and eating on Derech Beitlechem
The gourmet store whose name I forgot. If only this kosher cheese was available in NY!
One of the produce shops
Sitting out side at Cafe Kalo. It was so hip.
Breakfast at Cafe Kalo
The Waffle Bar!

7.Visiting friends and their new dog and Tzippy at their home that backs up to the Eshtol Forest
 I love that in Israel you can have a pomegranate tree in your back yard.
Eshtol Forest

8. Meeting our friends in Tel Aviv at the beach
The Mediterranean was a beautiful shade of turquoise
Playing in the sand

D and her friend A

9. Visiting Eretz Breisheit (Genesis Land)
The Judean hills were absolutely beautiful. This was where Avraham lived!

The camels that we rode to Avraham's tent
Listening to Avraham and Eliezer in out tunics. It was so engaging. I wish I could show you what they looked like but I ran out of batteries before I could a picture of them:(.
Making pitas the old fashioned way.

10. Swimming at the public pool that was around the corner from our apartment. It was an oasis off of Emik Refaim!
The girls loved the slide although it was way to timid for Z who is a dare devil!
T, D and J in the pool.
It had a second connected pool that was huge. It had lanes for people who wanted to do laps and an area to play if you wanted to get out of the hot Mediterranean sun.


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