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It’s been way too busy with back to school and of course the high holidays. And as luck would have it, my 8-year-old woke up sobbing with a sore throat Rosh Hashanah morning so it was a day of honey and tea instead of apples and honey. Though I did still manage to bake apple raisin round challah. So I posted on FB and Instagram that I was super excited about our new year cards that I ordered from Simply to Impress and promised I would follow-up with a reveal. It was my first time ordering from them but I decided to give them a chance since they had an amazing array of Jewish new year cards. I also really liked that you could order them in the more petite size of 4 x5.5 which I just think is a really sweet size.
So, I managed to stage my kids for a perfect fall new year pic by providing them with a couple of realistic looking toy shofars. Fair warning, they sound sort of kazoo-like which gets old pretty fast! I got my daughter this cute apple dress on sale last year at the Gap and put it away in the size I figured she’d be now. For my son, I ordered this cute button down and bow tie. After many outakes, I got a bunch of shots and then played around with cropping. Then I debated which of the tons of darling card options to choose and ended up settling on this one…drum roll, please… Continue reading
The new year is coming and I couldn’t be more excited for a fresh start! I have been MIA for far too long. Year 38 has probably been the longest of my life. So I mentioned back in December that we’d had health challenges – well now that they seem mostly behind us (pu pu pu), I can offer a bit more explanation. At 38, my dear sweet husband was diagnosed with TWO kinds of cancer. After major surgery the week of Thanksgiving, he’s spent the last nine months in a cycle of chemo and radiation, all while juggling work and life with two kids (who turned 8 and 2 this summer!) So, you can guess where much of the day-to-day worry fell. But I am thrilled to say that my sweet is now cancer-free!! One of my goals is to return to my craft projects, or rather sharing them with all of you; the sign in my craft room does proclaim, “Arts and Crafts Keep Me Sane” after all. I’ve still managed to sneak some projects in over the past year and will try to go back and share them over time. Continue reading
I am still here, really. Just a bit sleep deprived and in that new baby daze. You know what feels like a super fun outing with a new baby? A trip to Target! With my baby napping away in the carrier, I was able to browse just a little and guess what I found? The perfect vignette for mantle or table for the High Holidays. Pomegranates have special symbolism in Judaism and are often associated with the new year in particular. Now I had hoped to get this posted in time that maybe you could have used it for Sukkot but alas, baby mode got in the way. But don’t let that stop you, these are still available at Target and would still look great for fall, Tu B’Shevat or to be set aside for 5777.
The contrasting textures of the ceramic pomegranate (which has a small opening so you can put a single stem in some water), the solid red one and the wood grain are really fun. And thanks to my slowness in posting, they are now on clearance so be quick in your shopping! I just spotted some similar figs (also a very Jewish symbol) on sale too so maybe I’ll have to honor Tu B’Shevat a bit more this year with some decor. Hope to be back again soon (pray for some good napping) with some extreme baby cuteness and a tutorial on how to add a little Hebrew to your birth announcements! Stay tuned!
After spending time at my synagogue board retreat yesterday and with my little one on the verge of starting kindergarten, it is all too apparent that fall is about to sneak up on me. Last year’s Jewish calendar that functions as our family calendar in the kitchen is about to become obsolete and I haven’t even ordered a new one yet so it’s time to shop! So in Mamaleh-tradition, here is my round-up of this year’s calendar picks. Continue reading
I happen to know a whole bunch of babies celebrating their very first Rosh Hashanah and thought I’d add some holiday flair to their baby gifts. Continue reading
I can’t believe that Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of September 4th! It’s coming up so quickly and I have so many projects still floating around in my head and we’ve been dealing with a bunch of, well, life. At least one thing I can take care of pretty easily is ordering my new Jewish calendar to help myself enter the new year organized!
For those that don’t know, the Jewish calendar follows a lunar calendar. Although secular calendars have tried to be more inclusive of Jewish holidays, they often only include the major ones and often confuse when they actually start and end. So, I like to have at least one Jewish calendar in the house so that I always know when the holidays are. Some even provide details like candle-lighting and Torah portions. Ours hangs in the kitchen for daily reference and use as a family calendar. There also happen to be some gorgeous ones out there that add a nice little Judaic flare to your wall. You can also give one as a fabulous Rosh Hashanah hostess gift if you are lucky enough to have someone cooking for you! So, once again, I am sharing with you my picks for a 5774 Jewish calendar:
My yearly pick hasn’t changed from last year (shockingly) and will probably always be the Jewish Art Calendar by Mickie Caspi. You can see each piece of artwork featured on Caspi’s website. I LOVE Mickie Caspi. She sort of reminds me of a Jewish Mary Engelbreit in terms of the warmth and cheer of her art. We gave both sets of parents her parents’ gifts when we got married and her artwork is simply beautiful.
I am super bummed that there is not an updated Sammy Spider kids’ Jewish calendar. We ordered one for my son last year and it has been fantastic with great monthly projects/stories. The only saving grace is that the 5773 version actually goes through the end of secular 2013 so I guess we can hold off but I am still bummed nonetheless.
My Very Own Jewish Calendar is seemingly kid-friendly but it’s certainly no Sammy Spider. But, could be worth a try.
The art featured in Jewish Celebrations: Paintings by Malcah Zeldis offers a lot of vibrant, family imagery that kids and adults alike would enjoy.
If you need something a bit more portable or to keep on your desk, check out The Jewish Museum’s Jewish Engagement Calendar. I am contemplating this one for blog planning purposes especially.
Another portable option seems to be the Executive Jewish Calendar but this doesn’t really look like it packs much pizzazz although maybe it’s great inside. Who knows? Has anyone tried it?
Well, there you have it. I’m a bit disappointed in the lack of kid options since I think the calendar is a great place to add a little daily dose of Judaism. Maybe I’ll have to get a head start on next year and start designing a kids’ DIY Jewish calendar (I remember buying one of those for myself in college and loving it – it came with stickers and everything!). Oh the wheels in my brain are a turnin’…
Hope this helps you start to prepare for the new year just a little! You can always check out last year’s free printables if you want to get a jump on some super easy but sweet decorations to ring in the new year. Or check out what I think is the Best Honey Cake Recipe Ever! And stay tuned for more new year’s sweetness in the coming weeks!
Some of you saw my honey cake on Facebook and asked about the pan and the recipe…So, truth be told, I have never been a huge fan of honey cake. The ones I’ve had have always seemed a bit dry or too sweet. Well, the recipe I tried yesterday from my Bundt Cake Bliss cookbook has made me a convert! In general, I love a good Bundt cake – it comes out perfectly formed and gorgeous (assuming proper pan prep). I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add a Jewish Star of David Bundt Pan to my collection, especially since it’s made by Nordic Ware, the best in the biz. Just FYI, this particular pan holds 10 cups and the recipe calls for a 12 cup, it means that the bottom of the cake will be a bit rounded but that was a non-issue really.
Other than giving it my own Jewish twist thanks to the pan, I highly recommend using really good honey – I used my favorite Pacific Northwest Blackberry. Mmmmm! I also opted for golden raisins for the look. Oh and the author’s recommendation to pair it with some Humboldt fog cheese is simply the best thing ever. I highly recommend trying it, especially for a brunch. The combo is simply divine. So, whether you tuck it away for next Rosh Hashanah, make it for your Yom Kippur break-the-fast or just give it a go whenever, thanks to the lovely folks at the Minnesota Historical Society Press (aka the publisher), I get to share this delicious recipe with all of you! Enjoy!
Eastern European Honey Cake with Lemon Sugar Glaze
Reprinted from Bundt Cake Bliss by Susanna Short with permission of the MHS Press
SERVES 10 to 12
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg or mace
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons brandy
2/3 cup cold water
¾ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan using butter and flour or Baker’s Joy and set aside.
Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Beat sugar, honey, oil, eggs, lemon peel, lemon juice and brandy in large bowl on medium for 2 minutes. Alternately add the flour mixture and the water to the honey mixture, mixing thoroughly between additions. Beat for 2 minutes at high speed. Fold in the nuts and raisins. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn onto a serving plate.
To prepare the Lemon Sugar glaze, mix ¾ cup of sugar with 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice. Place in saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is slightly thickened. Prick top of cake gently with a fork and drizzle with glaze, allowing it to soak in before adding more.
I like to serve this with nuts scattered on the platter. It also looks elegant as a composed dessert with thinly sliced fresh figs and pears fanned around the cake. Or try this with a soft cheese like Humboldt Fog, drunken goat, or sharp brie. The blending of the savory and sweet with a cup of espresso is a very graceful ending to a formal dinner party.