Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chewy Chocolate Passover Cookies

For the past few years, I served a flour-less chocolate cake for dessert after our Seder. Yes, it's delicious but this year I wanted to try something new and lighter. After finishing a three course meal who can eat a whole slice of cake?

I found this wonderful recipe on Pinterest...it's gluten-free, light and rich so one cookie is very satisfying.

Flour-less Chocolate Passover Cookies
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. On a large bowl whisk together the powdered sugar with the cocoa and salt. Whisk in egg white and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
3. Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake about 14 minutes until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Let cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I'm serving them along with these French Almond Macaroons so I can put together a Passover cookie platter!

Friday, March 27, 2015

The New/Old House: A Fireplace into a Desk

Now that she's seven years old, the number one first thing on Moussia's wish-list in her room was a desk. She spends so much time writing, drawing and creating so she wanted a space where she could keep all her art supplies organized and ready to go.
Although the room is large it has three doors, a huge bay window (where the two twin beds sit) and angled walls (the room is not a rectangle). So, as crazy as it sounds, the only spot for the desk was right smack in front of the fireplace! Not only did it have to be large enough for two little girls, it had to be custom made to fit exactly in the spot and done on a budget.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Individual Seder Plates with Flags

The winner of the Passover Seder pillows is (drumroll please) Fairfax Ave! Please contact EstherO (esther@craftsbyesthero.com) as soon as possible to be sure your pillows arrive in time for Passover!

If you've been reading my blog, you already know I'm using all disposables for the Seder this year. Because it's all paper and some plastic, I am able to give each guest their own Seder plate. So much easier than passing things around the table.
I found these small hor d'orves plates which are the perfect size to hold each item on a square paper plate. The the mini flags are helpful when reading the Haggadah if you're not sure which Hebrew word they are referring to. (They also look super cute!)
Many communities have different customs as to what to use for each item. For instance, many people use parsley or celery for the Karpas, while Chabad uses a raw onion. These mini flags help clear up any confusion.
Above is a free printable if you'd like to create the flags...I printed mine on green paper to match the plates but the color is up to you. After cutting each flag out with a pair of sharp scissors glue the tops onto wood toothpicks.
What do you use for the Karpas? Parsley, celery, boiled potato or onion?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Passover Pillows (You Can Win!)

Why pillows at the Seder?
The importance of leaning at the Seder is explained that since we were slaves in Egypt and now we are free, we must act in accordance to our new status. Since it was the custom of noble men and women to eat while reclining on a sofa or on cushions, today we are obligated to eat as noble people who recline.

Esther O, who blogs over at craftsbyesthero is giving away two beautiful Passover Seder pillows to a lucky reader!  There are four unique styles to choose from and the pillowcases are a cotton/poly blend with embroidery and some with rhinestones. The cases fit a standard-sized bed pillow and I love the understated elegance and the neutral colors go with any table decor.
This give-a-way ends soon so be sure so leave a comment on this post or the post on the designmegillah Facebook page by March 25 to be sure yours arrives in time for the Seder!  Even if you don't win, you can purchase the pillows here

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Passover Place Cards

If you're having a large Seder it can be helpful to have place cards at each seat to avoid confusion. Here's a fun place card you can make for the Seder table—guaranteed to make kids and adults (big kids) smile!
It's really just pieces of colored paper that are cut and glued together to create this cute frog. Here is the template...simply copy and paste it onto a Word document, then print out on your home printer.
You'll need colored paper, carbon paper, sharp scissors and glue.
1. Slip a sheet of carbon paper under the template and onto the colored paper.
2. After tracing all shapes, cut each one with sharp scissors.
3. Add a drop of glue on each piece and assemble to create the frog.
4. For the back, cut a rectangle, fold as shown and glue on to the back.
That's it!

Not the crafty type? You can also purchase these from my Etsy shop...
 Just click here...jewishholidayshop

Friday, March 13, 2015

Passover Disposables

Like most kosher homes, ours had four sets of dishes...one for meat, one for dairy and one set for Passover meat meals and another for Passover dairy meals. Removing all "hametz"  (breads, cereals, flour, etc) from the home is part of making a home kosher for Passover. So, aside from removing any leavened foods, all utensils that came into contact with hametz may not be used during Passover (unless they were “kashered”--made kosher for Passover). 

That's a lot of plastic bins filled with dishes, pots and pans, toaster ovens...the list goes on and on. When we moved to out current house two years ago I decided to simplify things and get rid of my Passover sets of dishes. I kept the pots and pans and serving pieces but I just had too many bins to shelp up from the basement. Instead I opted for disposables for both the Seder meal as well as the eight days of Passover.

So even though I'm not using beautiful China I still want the table to look chic and stylish. Here are some beautiful choices for one-time use tableware. Many of them are even Eco-friendly so no worries about adding trash to the environment!
1. Square black dessert plates  | 2. Round wooden plate  | 3. China-like plate in ivory
4. Bamboo cutlery  |  5. Clear carafe   |  6. Cocktail mini plates  | 7. Crystal tumblers 
8. WASARA tableware

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Balloon Centerpiece

Our granddaughter Moussia is turning seven this week! I created these centerpieces for the birthday party using regular balloons with special cups and sticks.
Here's how I created these without the hassle and expense of helium balloons...
The secret is balloon cups and sticks. You simply loop the end of the balloon into the little cup and place it into the stick. Mine are wood but they also sell plastic.
These are easy to find online at most party supply websites.
I love that I can blow up the balloons days ahead of time and they'll still be perfectly inflated for the party. So much easier transporting these in the car than a dozen helium balloons bobbing in the windows and blocking the view!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Best of Purim 2015

Today is Purim! We'll be busy all day delivering Shalach Manos baskets, hearing the Megillah reading, going to our community party and having a festive meal.

I wanted to share some of my Purim favorites I found this year...so creative!

Best Shalach Manos Basket
You may remember Yossi Belkin who started the children's website Fox and Fish. (I featured his website back in February.)  He created this incredibly gorgeous Purim basket combining fox cookies and gummy fish to play up the name of his website!

Best Costumes
 Not great for strolling around the Purim party but so creative!
OMG I found this on the web...who thought of this?!

Best Hamantaschen
Nina Safar from Kosher in the Kitch came up with Pop Tart Hamantaschen--so cute!

Monday, March 2, 2015

The New/Old House:Upholstered Headboards

The girl's room is far from finished but the focal point of the room—the beds, are done!  

Upholstering the headboards on two
Ikea Fjellse bed frames was an expensive and impressive solution for two little girls sharing a room. Sometimes these DIY projects don't always work but here, everything went smoothly according to the plan which I posted last month.
I was lucky to have a wood craftsman at a local lumberyard cut the pieces of MDF for me since my talents do not include woodworking!
1. After assembling the Ikea headboards I starting sketching the shape on a large sheet of Kraft paper.
2. I drew one side, then folded the paper in half so that both sides were identical.
3. The paper was taped to the head board to make sure the size and proportions were right.
4. Using my template, the lumberyard cut the 1/4 inch MDF and screwed both headboards to the bed frame. I painted any exposed wood in a coral paint color.
5. I used a foam mattress topper from Walmart to cover the MDF board—much less expensive than foam from the fabric store. A full size was enough to cover both headboards.
6. Using a sharpie marker, I traced the shape of the headboards and cut the foam with scissors. Next, it was spray mounted to the board.
7. Batting from the fabric store...
8. was stapled over the foam to make it extra soft.
9. The coral colored fabric is from fabric.com. (Be sure to have several boxes of staples on hand for a project like this...lots of stapling!)

There's more to do before I can reveal the finished room, but it's off to a good start and the girl's love their new beds!
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