Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Nine Days & Panko Crusted Salmon

We are halfway through the nine days which began in the Jewish month of Av and ends next Tuesday on the ninth of Av, (which is a fast day.)  Since these are days of mourning for the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples, there are many things we don't do during this time and one of them is not eating meat.
Tonight it's pasta and tomorrow I am making this Salmon recipe from Ina Garten's cookbook "How Easy is That?"   It's so easy and so good (my kind of cooking!)  I found Jeff Nathan gluten-free panko flakes last Passover made with potato starch and it's works perfectly for this recipe.

Panko-Crusted Salmon
Serves 4
2/3 cup panko
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 salmon fillets, skin on
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Lemon wedges, for serving 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together the panko, parsley, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir until the crumbs are evenly coated. Set aside.

Place the salmon fillets, skin side down, on a board. Generously brush the top of the fillets with mustard and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard on each salmon fillet. The mustard will help the panko adhere.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or large heavy, ovenproof pan. When the oil is very hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.

Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes until the salmon is almost cooked and the panko is browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve the salmon hot or at room temperature with lemon wedges.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Masking Tape Vase

Here's a simple project you can make in no time at all and all you need is an old vase and some colored masking tape.
I love how mine turned out and there are so many variations to this using other colors of tape and different vase shapes.
1. I started with a clear glass vase in a cylinder shape.
2. It was given a quick coat of white spray paint.
3. Gather the colored masking tape...I used five different colors but it's up to you.
4. I cut mine into thin don't have to be exact.
5. Start covering the vase, wrapping the tape around and cutting it at the end.
6. Keep adding additional colors until you are pleased with the finished vase.
These would be great for a doesn't take long to make a dozen or so for multiple tables. You can even choose the colors you like to match the theme of the celebration. (Colored masking tape is popping up in lots of stores...I found a nice selection at Staples.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Zelda's Ducky Birthday Party

Zelda turned two this week and to celebrate, we used one of her favorite things for the party theme...rubber ducks!
We kept it low-key and had the family for dinner and dessert. Zelda didn't care—she was very excited since she understood it was HER party!
She's such a fashionista...Zelda loved to open her birthday gifts (mostly clothing) and model them for everyone.
Shhhhh...just don't tell her that her dress is actually on backwards :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gluten Free Pesto Chicken Burger with Fire-Roasted Tomato Jam

Today is the final day of "A Very Jewish Summer" series and today it's Chanie from Busy in Brooklyn with an AMAZING Pulled Pesto Chicken Burger perfect for summer. 

This burger is especially interesting to me since I have celiac disease and it's gluten-free. There is no bun and instead she uses large portobello mushrooms! Sounds crazy but the recipe won second place in a mushroom contest so I'm definitely going to try it.
Looks amazing, right? Head over to Busy in Brooklyn to get the whole story and the recipe.

It was fun being a part of this series and a special thanks to Dena from Chai and Home for all her hard work pulling this together.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Freezer Cooking for the Grill

Today in our series "A Very Jewish Summer" it's Happily Hectic's turn.  She gives some tips for freezer cooking...done in advance and onto the grill for a quick meal for busy working moms.
Check out her post here for lots of summer grilling ideas.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Succah (Sukkah) Lanterns

We're halfway through "A Very Jewish Summer" and today's it's Sara Rivka's turn. Sara blogs over at creative jewish mom and she is clever--she's making decorations for her Sukkah during the summer before the high holidays begin and we are all super busy cooking and entertaining!
This craft would be a great way to keep the older kids busy this summer. To see how she made these pretty lanterns, head over to creative jewish mom.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Picnic for Shabbat

Today is Day 2 of A Very Jewish Summer. Yesterday I showed you how to make Havdalah candles in the sun, and today Dena is here from Chai and Home showing us a charming picnic lunch.
Shabbat Picnic Lunch
You can read about how she put together this pretty picnic right here.  Be sure to stop back tomorrow to see what Sara from creative jewish mom has for us!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summertime Havdalah Candles

Summer is the perfect time to make these mini havdalah candles. All it takes is a hot summer day and some thin candles in a foil pan.
Start with some thin candles. I found mine online from the Crate and Barrel outlet store.
Wait for a hot sunny day. Place the candles in a disposable foil pan and place in the sun. Depending on where you live and the temperature will determine how long it will take for the candles to get soft. Be careful they don't melt too much or you'll have a runny mess! They should just be soft enough to be flexible so you are able to braid.
These can also be placed in a microwave oven for two minutes or so (again, every oven is different so you'll have to experiment) just until they are soft enough to braid. Work quickly before the wax starts to harden.
Mine are short and will only be used a few times...for a longer lasting candle look for long tapers.
Older children can join in making long as they know how to braid.
Wrap a bunch of candles in some silky ribbon—it makes a great hostess gift!  If you'd like to learn more about the havdalah ceremony you can read about it here.
Be sure to stop by all week to see  A Very Jewish Summer where five bloggers come together and post some great ideas for summertime Jewish fun!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Another Ikea Hack

I was shopping at Ikea this week and one of the things I bought was this Vittsjo shelving unit for my client's living room project.
It costs only $79 and it's a perfect way to fill a blank space for very little money. It's simple lines look great in contemporary or traditional rooms and can be painted to blend with the look of the room (I'm think brass will look great in my clients living room.)

Here are some other bloggers who already hacked this great piece of furniture...
For me, the most fun part of any project are the accessories so that will be next on the agenda. 

Have a great weekend and Shabbat and don't forget to stop by on Sunday when I kick off the "Very Jewish Summer" series!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Very Jewish Summer is Almost Here!

A Very Jewish Summer, Year 2

This year A Very Jewish Summer will take place from July 20 – July 24 (22 Tammuz – 26 Tammuz). Each day that week one of the bloggers (including me!) will share with us a stylish summertime idea for Jewish living. 

Enough kvelling! Here is the lineup---I'll be kicking off the week on Sunday.  Stay tuned for the week of July 20th when 5 bloggers will share 5 awesome posts all on the topic of summer.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Toothless in Amherst

Our granddaughter Moussia is six years old and lost her first baby tooth on Shabbat!
It's been loose for a while and I told her I would make her a special box that she could keep her tooth in. Here's how:
1. I found an unfinished wood box at the craft store.   
2. This label was created on picmonkey.   
3. Teal craft paint was used to match her room colors--two coats for good coverage.
4. Washi tape was brushed on with Mod Podge to keep it from coming off.
5. Leftover beads were glued onto the bottom to create little "feet".
6. The inside was painted a bright apple green.
 Now she's waiting for the $$ in exchange for the tooth!

Friday, July 11, 2014

This & That

I spent a good part of this week in Amherst helping Ariel paint a butler's pantry in the "new/old" house. It will be the dairy kitchen since it's separate from the main kitchen and already has a spot for a sink and dishwasher.
1. One coat of primer and two coats of paint to cover so much brown wood! It's not original to the house...a previous owner built it to match the other butler's pantry so we had no qualms about painting it to lighten up the dark space. (I'll post the finished room soon.)
2. A Target run...the kids came along and had a juice break.
3. Ariel came up with the greatest idea for this retro sign. Stay turned for the post.
4. I couldn't resist these concrete balls on sale at Target for my own garden. (I am a little bit obsessed with sphere shapes.)

Have a great Shabbat and weekend (and I'm praying the situation in Israel is all good.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Children's Rooms with a Jewish Touch

When I finish helping Ariel with the downstairs of their "new/old" house I'll be heading upstairs to work on the children's rooms. (Here's where the real fun begins!) Moussia and Zelda are sharing a room and Yosef has his own and although we'll be using the duvet covers from their old rooms which will set the tone they'll still need paint, rugs, and accessories. 

I found some really cute items that will give the rooms some Jewish flair, like...
these vinyl hebrew letters for the wall—so cute for the playroom.
this hebrew alphabet poster would look great in Yosef's room.
 or maybe a vintage poster from Israel? Or this one?
There are so many cute mezuzahs for children on the market...I love the left one for the girl's room and of course the rocket ship for a boy's. 
Same goes for tzedakah boxes...I've always loved this globe.
Fun colored Netilat Yadayim cups are cute for the morning ritual of washing.
This quote, from the Friday night Shabbat prayer looks so great with large type and framed for a girls room.
Zelda actually got a set of these beautiful blocks for Chanukah (thanks Aunt Lisa!) and I'll incorporate them on a shelf.
These wood letters (below) are so colorful and fun...and a great way to teach your child how to spell their Hebrew name! Or, (above) pretty in pink.

Until then, there is a lot of painting going on downstairs...the reveals to come soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Love Where You Live: Elizabeth Park

I have many favorite spots where I live, but for me the crown jewel of Hartford is Elizabeth Park. It's the oldest public Rose Garden and the 3rd largest in the United States. This 2.1 acre public park has over 800 varieties of roses and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I recently spent one glorious afternoon strolling around with my camera.
It was one of those rare summer days with temps. in the low 80's and no humidity!
The ivy covered pergola is spectacular outside...
and inside.
In the 1970s the city decided it could no longer afford the garden, and was determined to plow it under. Thankfully, volunteers banded together and came to the rescue.
Since then the Friends of Elizabeth Park have assisted the City of Hartford in maintaining the Rose Garden as well as the other horticultural gardens in the park and have raised funds for the restoration of the historic greenhouses and the Elizabeth Pond Memorial in 1997, also known as the Pond House Cafe.
Today the park encompasses many garden areas, pathways, century-old greenhouses, lawns, bowling greens, tennis courts, a picnic grove, and a scenic pond. It a great place to unwind and take in the beauty of this gem.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth & Shabbat Shalom

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and Shabbat! 
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