Chanukah Sameach!

***GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! THANKS FOR SHARING ALL OF YOUR GREAT IDEAS!***

Chanukah Sameach!

I really can’t believe it’s Chanukah already! I feel like we just took down the Sukkah (or did you?!)

I’m so excited to join in the 2012 Hanukkah Blog Party! So many fantastic bloggers, so many incredible recipes. Please take a look around and be inspired! The best part? One in 6 chances of winning a prize! See below for giveaway details! FYI – at the last blog party,  one of my readers WON!

My idea was for printable Chanukah decorations and gift tags! Here is a PDF (TheKosherHome_ChanukahArt) for you to print at home! I’ve made picture frame sized images for 8×10, 5×7, 4×6, and 3×5 – mount them on blue cardstock if you’d like or as is! There is also a banner, gift tags and circles for the tops of cupcakes, or stick them on Chanukah Gelt! Go ahead – embellish with glitter and rhinestones! Ideas are as endless as you imagination!

Go ahead – feel free to send me some pictures of how you use these printables in your home, or at your Chanukah Party! I can’t wait to see! Some ideas are below!

DOWNLOAD FILE HERE: TheKosherHome_ChanukahArt

Welcome to the first ever Hanukkah Blog Party, hosted by Leah of Cook Kosher and Miriam of Overtime Cook. It’s traditional on Hanukkah to eat fried treats, most notably donuts and latkes, and we’ve got a fabulous array of Hanukkah themed recipes, treats and crafts from Jewish bloggers all over the world! Scroll down for links to all of the delicious treats. 

To help get everyone into party mode, we have a bunch of fabulous new cookbooks to GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win one of:

2 copies of Susie Fishbein’s new Kosher By Design Cooking Coach (sponsored by Artscroll)
2 copies of Leah Schapira’s  Fresh and Easy Kosher Cooking (sponsored by Artscroll) 
2 copies of Esther Deutch’s CHIC Made Simple (sponsored by the author)

Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, December 16th. Limit one entry per person per blog, so visit the other blogs for extra chances to win! 
Prizes can only be shipped within the US. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address in order to qualify.

How to enter: Leave a comment on this post tell me your favorite way to decorate your home for Chanukah!

This is the second of many fabulous Holiday Blog Parties. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to participate in future parties, please email holidayblogparties@gmail.com

Stop by the other blogs and check out these Chanukah Themed Recipes:
Latkes:

Jamie from Joy of Kosher made Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki
Daniel from Peikes Cookbook made Potato and Fennel Latkes Fried in Duck Fat With Chinese Five Spice Apple Sauce
Susan from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen made Squash and Potato Latkes

Samantha from The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Ruby Red Beet Latkes with Cumin

Nechamah from TIforOA Food Ideas made Healthy Oatmeal Latkes
Liz from The Lemon Bowl made Traditional Potato Latkes
Yosef from This American Bite made Latkes & Brisket on Rye
Melanie from From Fast Food to Fresh Food made (I Can’t Believe They’re Crispy!) Baked Latkes
Laura from Mother Would Know made Three Variations of Sweet and Savory Latkes
Sarah from Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends made Kimchee Latkes
Shulie from Food Wanderings made Baked Panko Sweet Potato Leek Latkes
Donuts and Desserts: 
Miriam from Overtime Cook made Shortcut Cannoli with Chocolate Mousse Filling
Leah from Cook Kosher made 5 Minute Donuts
Estee from The Kosher Scoop made Tropical Fruit Fritters
Melinda from Kitchen-Tested made Sweet Steamed Buns
Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat made Homemade Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Gelt
Avidan from Baking It Up As I Go Along made Orange Olive Oil Cake
Tali from More Quiche Please made Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes
Amital from Organized Jewish Home made Mom’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Princess Lea from The Frumanista made Túrógombóc
Stephanie and Jessica from The Kosher Foodies made Beignets
Gigi from Gigi’s Kitchen made Bunuelos: Mini Powdered Cheese Donuts 
Esther from Esther O Designs made Edible Menorahs
Patti from No Bacon Here made Hanukkah Oreo Balls
Shoshana from Couldn’t Be Parve made Churros con Chocolate
Shaindy from My Happily Hectic Life made Inside Out Apple Crisp
Eve from Gluten Free Nosh made Gluten-Free Hanukkah Sugar Cookies
The Gluten Free maven made Gluten Free Vegan Cake Donuts
Amy from Baking and Mistaking made Mini Cream-Filled French Beignets
Sarah from Food, Words, Photos made Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Victoria from Itsy Bitsy Balebusta made Pure Vanilla Donuts
Vicky and Ruth from May I Have That Recipe made Dulce de Leche and Eggnog cream filled mini sufganiot
Dena from Oh You Cook made Poached Pears in Pomegranate Sauce
Michele from Kosher Treif Cooking made Tiramisu Cheessecake
Sharon from FashionIsha made Sparkly Chanukah Cookies
Appetizers, Soups, Sauces, Drinks and other Hanukkah Food:
Laura from Pragmatic Attic made Caramel Spice Applesauce
Jessie from Bread and Butter made Honey Spiced Hanukkah Martini
G6 from Guess Who’s Coming 2 Dinner made Sweet Potato Leek Soup
Claire from I Love Soup made Sweet Potato, Coconut & Lemongrass Soup
Jennifer from Juanita’s Cocina made Kugel
Liz from Kosher Like Me made Ready, Stuff Roll! 

Crockpot Mac n Cheese!

 

Crockpot mac n cheese. You heard that right! Did I lose you yet? Soft, creamy, delicious and decadent.

I’m sure by now you know I’m a huge crockpot user (and lover!) Long days out of the house, while the rest of my family still needing to eat has encouraged me to get creative.

Peoples objection to weekday crockpot meals is that they feel each meal tastes, or has the consistancy of chulent. I’m here to tell you now, I don’t make chulent. I think I’ve made it once or twice. But the leftovers are unappealing and for most people inedible. The thought of throwing it out upsets me.

When I stumbled upon a fantastic blog, crockpot365.blogspot.com I was smitten! Browsing through the recipes, Mac n Cheese caught my eye! Raw noodles in the crockpot? Must be a mistake! No. No, it wasn’t.

My version, adapted from there produces a creamy, decadent bowl of comfort yumminess.

I must say though, this recipe is not a “set it and forget it” one. I suggest keeping an eye on it. I took pictures during the cooking process for you to see. While this isn’t a recipe you can set at 7am and eat at 8pm, it’s a treat for you to enjoy!

Crockpot Mac n Cheese!
 

Ingredients
  • 12oz’s uncooked noodles (I used rotini, because that’s what I had on hand).
  • 4 cups 1% milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tap pepper

Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Spray the inside of the crockpot with an oil based spray. Pour mixture into crockpot and set on high for 3 hours. Do not open the lid!
  3. After 1 hour, life the lid and take a peak. Give the mixture a stir. Replace the lid and walk away.
  4. After another 30 minutes lift the lid again and stir. The mixture should be soft and bubbly, but not burning on the edges. The noodles should be fluffy as they’ve absorbed the liquid.
  5. Depending on your crockpot, your mac n cheese may be ready now, or it may need more time.
  6. At this point, feel free to enjoy it as is, or if you are like us, you may want to pour it into a ceramic diah, sprikle with cornflake crumbs, some paprika and some shredded parmesan cheese! Bake for 5-8 minutes in the oven at 400′ until it reaches the level of doneness that you enjoy!

*my recipe includes baking it in the oven for 5-8 minutes to give it a crispy top. Depending on how you enjoy your mac n cheese, feel free to not do this part (we fight over the crunchy bits!)

This will either serve 4 people, or 1 (!) depending if you are willing to share.

Thanks{giving} and Excuses.

Excuses. We all have them. I’m not trying to offer one. Instead, I’m jumping back on the blogging bandwagon head first!

This week, my dear friend Melinda, from Kitchen-Tested  and I organized the first Kosher Food Bloggers Conference in NY. What an event! The vibe of the bloggers, the excitement of the sponsors, the gorgeous location The Carlton Hotel was incredible and inspiring! 

More pics and a video to come, promise!

I think someone forgot to tell me how soon Thanksgiving was. This week? WHAT!?!? As an an ex-pat to the States (I’m originally from Australia) Thanksgiving is a national holiday that I LOVE! yes, LOVE! The food! The colors! The smells! Sitting around a large table with your nearest and dearest eating great food, a few drinks and hopefully no men watching football in the living room!

It always cracks me up how the population goes ca-razy! The internet goes wild with questions like “How do I cook for a party of 8?” (Um, 8? pppft!) “How do I reheat all the side dishes?” “Can I bring tupperware to take home leftovers?” “How may desserts should I serve?”

I’ve been scouring the internet (and our Pinterest boards) for a roundup of best-of-the-web for you!

Fun Tablescape idea from HGTV!
Full details here.

Indian Corn Napkin Ring.
Full details here

A gorgeous Fall Mantle.
Full details here.

Cranberry and Apple Chutney.
Full recipe here.

 Top rated brussel sprouts.
Full recipe here.

Two (yes, two!) ingredient pumpkin cake!
Full recipe here.

Pecan Pie Bars. Be sure to use margarine instead of butter to keep it pareve!
Full recipe here

I would be remiss if I didn’t include a great Thanksgiving cocktail. Go ahead – wait until the guests have left, kids are in bed and the fireplace is dying down, I won’t tell!
Full recipe here.  

So, enough excuses! Watch out for weekly blog posts going forward! xxx

 

Winter Wonderland Party!

I know, I’ve been super quiet around here the past few weeks. My Mum and Dad are in town, and we celebrated our daughters 4th birthday party last week!

While I know a party like this (with 24 kids!) seems so NOT on a budget. I can’t lie and say it didn’t cost. It did. But I have no doubt that it was much cheaper than taking 24 kids to a party venue (bowling, bounce house etc).

The trick is to be well prepared. Very well prepared. We decided to go for a Winter Wonderland theme about 18 months ago (when it was snowing and she LOVED it!) With a theme set, the brainstorming and research began! Some of my favorite party stylists and websites are, of course, Amy Atlas, Hostess with the Mostess, and so many more!
Inspiration is endless. What’s important is to know when to stop. To start, i picked a color pallete. White. Aqua. Silver. I considered touches of red, but felt it would seem too Christmas’y.

Now for the details:

ACTIVITIES: We had activities outside (scarf decorating, snowglobe making, snowball tossing, stamp painting, snowman figurine painting and a winter-themed scavenger hunt). I hope to write a post about the activities this week! Then, we all headed inside to cool off and the tablescape was revealed. 75+ snowflakes hung from the ceiling, and the fireplace was covered floor to ceiling!

FOOD: Where do you begin? Popcorn! Ice Cream! Cupcakes! Blueberry Parfaits! Cake Pops! Marshmellow Pops! Jello! All in the color theme of white, aqua and silver accents! Here are some pics of the food on the tablescape.

THE CAKE: I put a lot of thought into the cake. Can I get it to stand up? How will the hat stand on top? What will I use as a scarf? Decisions. Decisions. While searching for salad bowls one night, I had my own “UHU moment!” Salad bowls upside down look like the belly of the snowman! Sweet! While I’m no Cake Boss, I tried my hardest to get the end result looking fabulous! People couldn’t believe the cake! I had to quietly tell them that not EVERY part of the cake was real. Only a small portion. In the heatwave we had, I was worried about it all standing tall and not melting! Here is a picture of the final result:

EXTRAS: Finding the perfect party hat for the kids (and some fun-loving adults) was a tough endeavor. What does one do? Yup, we make our own! We bought a basic party hat, took it apart, traced it on cardstock, cut, take embellish and just like that, homemade party hats!

Want to check out more of the parties I have styled? They have been featured on Apartment Therapy Family here and here.

This was TRULY a labor of love. Everything was handmade, handcut, handpainted. There is no pricetag on this, or our daughter’s happiness (and surprise!) when she walked down the stairs in her PJ’s early that morning to see it all. THAT makes it all worthwhile.

Until next year….

Chocolate Caramel Challah? YES, PLEASE!

I have been reading The Challah Blog for a while now, and am loving the creations that The
Hazz and The Mrs.
come up with!

Nothing blew me away more than the Chocolate Caramel Challah! Just the word caramel makes me weak at the knees.

The Mrs. makes this challah with her Basic Challah Recipe and a bunch of add ins!

This looks TO. DIE. FOR.

Chocolate Caramel Challah? YES, PLEASE!
Challah
 

Ingredients
  • ¾ c water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
  • ¼ c vegetable oil
  • 3 c flour
  • 1¼ tsp salt

Instructions
  1. The Mrs. gives great directions….
  2. Place very warm (but not hot, I usually let me faucet run for a bit) water in mixing bowl. Add yeast and honey, mixing lightly.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so… I usually do less… until you see little eruptions.
  4. Add eggs and vegetable oil and mix with wood spoon.
  5. If you have a stand mixer, add flour and salt and beat with dough hook. Remember: salt kills yeast. Don’t put the salt in with the yeast. Wait until you’ve added some of the flour.
  6. If the dough is not holding together as a ball, add a bit more oil or water. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour. The dough is ready when it sticks together as a ball and is not sticky to the touch when you poke your finger in (5-10 minutes of beating). Turn the ball out onto a floured work surface and punch a few times until very smooth.
  7. Place in oiled bowl and cover in plastic wrap or a towel.
  8. Allow to rise at least one hour, preferrably more, until dough has doubled in size. I only do one rise as a ball, but you can do more. I’m not convinced it does much to the texture but some people swear by it.
  9. Punch down the ball in the bowl and remove. Punch out all air bubbles. Braid in your preferred method. Allow to rise 20-30 minutes. Top with an egg wash (I use the yolk and white) and sesame or poppy seeds if you like.
  10. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. You can use a bread thermometer (180-200 degrees) or poke at the seams. If they seem doughy, give it more time. You can always add foil if the top seems like its browning too fast.
  11. I often have to foil five- and six-stranded challot because they’re so much fatter.

Photo Credit: The Challah Blog
Recipe Credit: The Challah Blog

Har Sinai Cupcake

What a great surprise for the kids for dessert on Shavuot!

I couldn’t stop cracking up at the little Lego Israelites! Too funny!

Back to the cupcake! Joanna, from Bible Belt Balabusta shows us a wonderful, and pretty easy way to create Har Sinai on a cupcake, a mini cupcake, a muffin, or even a full size cake! She even give some great suggestions for the 2 Ten Commandment tablets! What’s your favorite? I was thinking mine was an easy guess, the Hershey chocolates, but then I noticed the marshmallows and may have to go that route!

What may also look great is if your pipe the grass using the Wilton decorating tip #234. There are many other ideas and options seen in this Kveller article.

Photo Credit: Bible Belt Balabusta
Tutorial Credit: Bible Belt Balabusta

 

Cupcake Liner Flowers – Shavuot Centerpiece

What table wouldn’t look wonderful with a few small vases of these homemade cupcake liner flowers!? Just picture a long, beautifully set table adorned from end to end with these masterpieces!

Here is a tutorial for a wonderful centerpiece or gift for Shavuot! While there are photo’s of a step by step which I usually love, Creative Jewish Mom gives thorough directions.

I can picture some uber colorful flowers using different colored cupcake liners, such as these and sprinkling the edges with fine glitter by Martha Stewart.

BUDGETING TIP: Of course, this wouldn’t be The Kosher Home {on a budget} without telling you to buy this glitter from Michaels with a 40% or 50% off COUPON!

Cupcake Liner Flowers – Shavuot Centerpiece
 

Ingredients
  • You’ll Need:
  • Cupcake liners in three graduating sizes (small, medium, large)
  • Floral wire, around 22 gauge (you can also use pipe cleaners but use floral wire for this one!)
  • Red craft paint (or color of your choice)
  • Floral stamens
  • Fine glitter, if using.

Instructions
  1. How To:
  2. The large flowers are made from 9 total liners, 3 large, 3 medium and 3 small. the small flowers are made from 8 liners, all size small.
  3. Stack the liners according to size, one inside the next.
  4. With a very large needle, or something else sharp, like possibly a toothpick, poke a hole at the edge of the small liner, such that the hole goes all the way through all the layers. Make sure to keep holding your liners together after you poke the hole!
  5. Thread a piece of floral wire through the first hole, and poke a second hole opposite the first on the inside bottom edge of the liner. the point is that the holes should be about 1 inch apart.
  6. Thread your floral wire down through the second hole, and if you will be using floral stamens, insert them now under the wire. (You could also try using tiny piece of ribbon in place of the stamens!)
  7. Pull the wire as tightly as possible without tearing the paper and fold the whole flower into a half moon shape.
  8. Now, to shape your flower you’ll have to play around a bit, separating the layers from one another while folding them up and towards the center. You may also want to crumple the paper a bit or fold the edges back as you rotate the flower.
  9. To add subtle colored detail to your flower, dip a dense sponge in a small amount of paint and dab the edges. Alternatively you can use water color paint to add color to the whole flower, just go light on the paint!

Photo Credit: Creative Jewish Mom
Tutorial Credit:
Creative Jewish Mom