Rosh HaShana Cards

The girls and I have been doing handprint alphabet, based on this lovely website, and thought it would be fun to make Rosh HaShana handprint cards.

20120913-131545.jpg

It was pretty easy to get my 2’s hand painted and printed for the fish, but my 9mos pomegranate was a bit more challenging and required too many hands to get a photo as well…

20120913-131712.jpg

When we had a blue hand print for the fish, and a red one for the pomegranate, we went on to decorating which was pretty simple-an eye and a smile for the fish (keeping the baby from eating all our eyes was the hardest part…), and a simple defining shape around the red handprint to turn it into a pomegranate.

20120913-131921.jpg

We then pasted the cards onto colored construction paper and added the blessings-

20120913-132030.jpg

May this year be as fruitful as the pomegranate and may you be the head and not the tail in the coming year 🙂

Shana Tova!

20120913-132136.jpg

Advertisements

Making Cheese out of Yogurt

This is a wonderfully easy basic technique for making creamy cheese out of yogurt.
Use kefir, homemade yogurt, or store bought. I start out with 2 cups of yogurt/kefir

20120911-220620.jpg

Add about 1/2 a tbsp of salt, mix well, and pour into a cheesecloth, lining a strainer, sitting in a bowl.

20120911-220719.jpg

Now there are two options. Ideally you’d keep the whey that drips into the bowl, as it’s very nutritious. Add it to smoothies, cook with it, or drink it the way it is. I find that I end up with many jars of whey in my fridge that I just end up throwing out, so I skipped that stage this time, and tied the cheesecloth above my sink to drip

20120911-220908.jpg

I leave it there for a few hours, depending on the temperature in your house, and how thick you want your cheese. The longer you leave it, the “drier” it gets. We live in a hot and dry climate, so it took about 4 hours to reach the consistency that I wanted. I then scooped the contents into a bowl and refrigerate till ready to use.

20120911-221300.jpg

When I am ready to serve, I will sprinkle za’atar, which is a middle eastern spice-dried wild oregano, salt and sesame seeds, and paprika, then drizzle olive oil. Serve with fresh pita.

Low Fat Apple Crumble

I discovered this dish one year when looking for an easy coffee cake. All I had in hand was a few apples, an egg and some flour. I loved the simplicity of the recipe, and the “magic trick”. I’ve modified it a bit to suit my style, and it has been a hit ever since.

The trick is to let the apples (pears work well, too…), sit for an hour or preferably longer, soaked in a marinade of sugar and spices. For sugar you can use brown sugar, honey, or my favorite, which is Silan, a date honey. The marinade does two things. First, it allows the flavor to soak into the fruit, intensifying the natural flavors. Second, and here’s the magic, the apples will release their own liquid and sweetness, and will add to the marinade. This allows you to use less sugar, almost no oil at all, and only one egg for the batch. I love experimenting with different fruits (hard fruits, such as apples and pears work best, but I’ve added in addition to these plums, peaches or anything I have on hand), dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins, dried organic apricots, and different nuts such as almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts or anything else you have on hand.

Apple Marinade

3 c peeled, cored and diced apples
1 c sugar/silan/honey
1tsp spice mixture

Crust

1 egg
1/4 c cold butter, cubed
1c Whole wheat flour
1c oats
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp baking soda
1/2 c nuts (brazil, walnuts, almonds, etc..)
1/2 c dried cranberries

Spice mixture

I throw my favorite spices into my heavy stone mortar and pestle, and grind to a fine powder. The spices that I normally use are: cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamom, star anise, fresh ginger and nutmeg.

Place fruit in baking dish, sprinkle sugar and spice, and let sit till bottom of dish is covered with syrup. Stir occasionally.

20120911-215642.jpg

Mix egg and butter into apple mixture.
In separate bowl mix dry ingredients and mix this into apple mixture slowly, mixing well with wooden spoon, till all flour is wet. Mix in nuts and cranberries.

Bake at 200 c for 30 minutes, or until top is golden. Don’th over bake, this cake is supposed to be quite moist!

20120911-215732.jpg

20120911-220105.jpg

Saturday project

We had a relaxing Saturday, I got to spend time doing things I don’t normally have time to do on a weekend. I’ve been reading this, and working on a fun home improvement project, which I would love to share.

We bought this set of two chairs and a small table for our girls from IKEA, but what’dya know, the chair broke pretty quickly. I’ve been staring at it for a long time, wondering what to do about it, when today the solution “came to me”, like solutions to things often do, while trying to sleep, nursing, or doing the dishes… I’ve never done anything like this before, so surely the next chair that breaks will look better, but im pretty pleased with the way this came out… 🙂 besides, now it’s much stronger than it was to begin with so I don’t have to be afraid to sit on it myself!

I initially wanted to thread rope through it, but couldn’t find rope long enough to do the job. This is where the brainstorming came in.. I thought to cut up a nice piece of African material and tie it together to make a long rope.. But that would be a waste of nice material. So I went to our local laundry room, which is where people leave clothes they aren’t interested in anymore for others to take. I’ve found really nice clothes there, but also of course old stained t shirts that nobody wants.. That was exactly what I was looking for today! I came back with a basket full of bright colors. Here’s my cloth, and here is the broken chair..

20120908-202642.jpg

Next, I cut the shirt I wanted so I had two big pieces of material, front and back, without the sleeves. I put one aside to use later, and cut the other into one long piece of material by cutting/tearing inch wide z strips.. Cut with the grain of the fabric, tear almost to the end of the row, then cut an inch above that going the other way, to make a long z.. Hope that makes sense. This is what it should look like. If you cut too much, or if it tears in the middle, no biggie, just tie the ends, you won’t see it.

20120908-203257.jpg

I tied this long piece of “thread” to the side of my chair and started making x’s down, under, around and again. When I finished this color I tied the next color to the first and kept going…

20120908-203423.jpg

It’s pretty self explanatory, and as easy at it looks! I did that till the entire seat was filled.

20120908-203513.jpg

Next I worked on weaving the top layer through the first, bottom layer. This was a bit more tricky, but got easier as I got the hang of it. You can get creative here, and weave as much or as little as you like… I tied my “thread” to the side of the chair and started weaving just through the colors, back and forth.

20120908-203833.jpg

I wanted the colors to look even, so I divided whatever I had left of each shirt (btw, I used two regular sized t shirts, and half a huge t shit for this..), and worked on both sides together, till I reached the middle section.

20120908-203929.jpg

When I got to the middle I needed a solution for the middle of the X from the previous layer, so I made smaller sections. I like the way it turned out, and so did my daughter 🙂

20120908-204210.jpg