Hanukkah in Our New Home

18 Dec

happyhanukkah

It’s been some time.. ok years, since I have blogged. Life has been crazy. Moving 2 times with 3 kids in tow, opening new stores, starting new business ideas. All in the span of 10 months. I’m seriously ready to relax a bit. Our new home is a blessing. We are close to the business, we live in a quite calm neighborhood, kids love their new school. The balance of life is coming back to us all. What way to kick it off and celebrate then with Hanukkah and donuts?  About 12 years ago when I was visiting Israel I was introduced to Sfenj.

Definition: Moroccan doughnuts made by deep frying a sticky, unsweetened yeast dough. They can be purchased from street vendors, who use skewers to remove the freshly made sjenj from the oil. Sfenj should be eaten warm, either plain or dusted with sugar, for breakfast or tea time.

I took the recipe down, from a friends Safta (Grandmother). She didn’t speak English but all I needed was to observe her technique and jot down the ingredients. 12 years later, Trial and error … I think I make some pretty yummy Sfenj.

Lets do it!

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • ——————————-
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • sugar, for garnish (optional)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside.

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and yeast mixture, and stir vigorously with your hand or a spoon until smooth. The dough should be too sticky to knead or shape, almost like a batter.

Cover the bowl, and leave the dough to rise for three to four hours, until double or triple in bulk.

In a wide pot, heat an inch or more of Canola oil until hot. Dip your hands in water, and pull off a piece of dough about the size of a small plum. Use your fingers to make a hole in the ball of dough, stretch the hole wide to make a ring, and place the dough in the hot oil. You will need a good amount of water for each sfenj to prevent it from sticking to your hands.

Repeat with the remaining dough, wetting your hands as necessary to keep the dough from sticking as you work with it.

Fry the sfenj until golden brown, turning once or twice. Remove the cooked sfenj to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Serve the sfenj hot. If desired, dip the sfenj in sugar to sweeten them.
Serve right away with honey, Nutella, Maple Syrup, Jam & a big pot of Nana Tea! (Mint Tea)

Bon Appetit & Happy Holidays!

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Shabbat Shalom – Peaceful Sabbath

30 Mar

No matter how crazy our week gets..with work, an online business, kids schedules, errands..whatever it may be…we always pause and take a break on Friday night (technically, 18 minutes before sundown) Our kids look forward to this time, as my daughter watches me getting ready, I hear “Shabbat is coming?”  She usually repeats it maybe 37 times.. but she’s just checking. This Shabbat I kept it simple… I usually go semi overboard and make 50 salads, a meat dish a fish dish, potatoes, rice…I just keep going. But once in a while I will just do one large main dish..so this time around was a beef stew on the stove top (not my crock pot for a change) & white rice. It’s a really easy simple recipe.. if you read my blog you see that is my trend. I do like  complicated dishes but recently I just haven’t had the time to make Coq au Vin.

Here is the recipe:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 pounds Stew Meat- They sell pre-chooped stew meat at most stores
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 can Beer, 12 Ounce Can Or Bottled- I used Stella
4 cups Beef Stock- basicly 1 box
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon Sugar
4 whole Carrots, sliced
4 whole New Potatoes, Quartered

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat, setting aside on a plate when brown. Cut pieces in half. Set aside.

Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute. Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. (If stew gets dry, just add a cup of hot water at a time to replenish the liquid.) Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

This is the starting process… everything added in and now needs to simmer away for a bit. This pan was actually my Mother’s… it’s a bit rustic but has some magic…

 

 

Sous-Chef  Ori… I told you he is a total Mama’s Boy

 

 

This is the completed dish with white rice.

 

 

Decanter with wine… always makes a Friday meal better…

 
My wine… don’t be mad all you wine connoisseurs..yes, I like it with ice! and Limeaid! Try it!

 

And this is what happens at my house after we finish eating and start singing… things get a little out of control..

Have a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom! Peace & Happiness to you and your family!

 

 

Easy Fast Dinner- STAT!

28 Mar

Here is what I made for dinner tonight. I make this maybe 2 times a month, simple-quick-easy and go.
What you’ll need:
-Chicken Thighs, drumsticks, legs- whatever your family will eat
-Root Vegetables Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Garlic = I usually throw in whatever I want to get rid of..
-Soy Sauce- Maple Syrup- Onion Soup Powder or Chicken Soup Powder- Olive Oil-Salt- Pepper
-Roasting Bag

Throw all of the above ingredients into the roasting bag, seal with tie- roll/shake the bag a few times to coat the ingredients.
Put on a rimmed tray or pyrex dish to catch drippings. Pierce a few holes to release the stream, cook at 350′ for 2 hours.. I sometimes let it cook for longer.. I don’t mind having crispy pieces.

This is how it looks before cooked… the chicken is under the Veggies…I added scallions, zucchini and purple potatoes.

This is the completed meal.. It looks way better in real life.. I need to up my Food Photography.. But no matter what, It’s yummy! Serve with rice or by itself. My kids eat it with mashed potatoes..

Mama’s Boy

28 Mar

and that he is. Just like I like it.
Here is my little man, enjoying the heck out of some yogurt.
Don’t be shy…. SMILE!

Random Thoughts

27 Mar

Occasionally I have a post with an array of topics. It’s when I have one of those do everything days. That’s today. I don’t know if it’s the 2 cups of iced coffee or the gospel music playing…. yeeeah… sometimes that happens… AMEN KIRK FRANKLIN! (I’m serious.. if you need some Redbull just listen to Gospel= same effect, Just don’t let your Jewish husband catch you singing “Ohhhh Jesus!”)  So enjoy my home organizing, cooking, muffin making, book loving, puzzle reviewing, explosion called Tuesday. wait.. It’s Tuesday right?

This is during breakfast- Peanut Butter Face

Making Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatos… boil…

Add Olive Oil to Pesto Powder.. few spoons.. to your liking..

Chop your tomatoes…

Toss. It’s super simple. Super easy, healthy and my Husband loves it. <3

Also made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins with a Wilton Heart Pan.. when you flip the hearts over you have this perfect place for a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was a request from the Man of the House…

2 Books I am obsessing over right now.  I just discovered The Pioneer Woman‘s blog which saved my life (& wallet) with a homemade Iced Coffee recipe- AMAZING. Love her book, full of colorful photos & goes with you step by step so you visually see. Cake Pops is from another blogger Bakerella– Thanks Sis! It was a birthday present and I love this one as well. I love baking and decorating cakes so this is super cute. Lots of ideas for upcoming holidays and birthdays.

My kids were fighting over a Melissa & Doug puzzle non stop so I had to hide it until I bought another one.. Now life is good. They are latch puzzles, they love opening each little door and placing the magnetic puzzle pieces in. My son is 1 and my daughter is 2.5 so this is great for all age ranges.

Missoni Condos

27 Mar

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Feast your eyes on renderings of the 1st residential building interior designed by Missoni Home!

The 52-story project, called Acqua Livingstone, is set to open in 2015 in Manila, Philippines. The common spaces, like the pool, lobby and gym, are all decked out in the brand’s variegated squiggles and stripes, but the actual residences are empty of Missoni design touches, which are offered for an additional premium. One-bedrooms start at $82,000.

“We brought our colors and our style inside. It’s a happy, positive approach: summer colors, solar colors,” Vittorio Missoni said of the 52-story building. “Coming from the outside you’re going to be surprised. … It’s like opening a box and discovering something unexpected.”
I know my Mama will love this!

People LOVE Pinterest.

22 Mar

And so do I.
Follow me! See my crazy imagination live and in person!

Ariella Adika on Pinterest


I AM BACK!

5 Mar

Well… Life is crazy. Don’t we all know that?
With 2 kids under 2.. yes both STILL! in diapers….( My daughter isn’t getting on the Potty band wagon as fast as I thought) opening a new business, running myself ragged… I am back blogging. Who doesn’t love a crazy, busy, Mom on the lose? That’s what life is all about!  Well…. we did have some fun while I was away :)

Baby Ori Growing Up!

Big Girl Maya Exploring

I just bought a NEW CAMERA!

26 May

I have to review this amazingly awesome camera.. The Sony Alpha NEX 3


Heres some quick info what is so special about it:

The Sony NEX-3 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is the smaller sister model of the NEX-5. Both NEX cameras come with a 14.6 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS and the mirrorless E-mount. They offer a high-resolution tilting screen, fast continuous shooting and HD video capture. The NEX-3 has a slightly larger plastic body (vs magnesium on the NEX-5), doesn’t come with an infrared remote receiver and only offers 720p HD video versus the NEX-5’s 1080i AVCHD movie recording.

However, in every other respect the NEX-3 is identical (and cheaper!) to the NEX-5. In iAuto mode the camera does a decent job for point-and-shoot users but where the NEX really shines is the PASM modes where you can take full advantage of the large, very capable sensor. The feature sets are impressive, as are the NEX’s portability and flexibility. The NEX is not a substitute for a DSLR but offers DSLR image quality without the bulk, which is exactly what I was looking for. My Canon is a monster, it will give you the best quality pictures you can get, but to bring that baby all over the world sometimes can be a hassle. So this is where the mirrorless technology comes in and is a life saver at times.

Mirrorless Cameras Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

  • Compact (even pocketable) & light weight
  • Great out of the camera JPEG images
  • Longer focal range in X2 cropped factor cameras
  • Best to take when on vacation
  • Attracts less attention
  • Offers DSLR image quality (entry-level ones at least)
  • You family can shoot with it
  • Cool gimmicks for the hobbyist photographer

Disadvantages:

  • Lack of ergonomics for photographers with large hands…um… not me! ;)
  • Lost of balance when long telelphoto-zoom lenses are being used (I don’t mind)
  • Doesn’t look professional (if that’s what you need)
  • Lack of high-grade prime lenses
  • Shorter shutter life span
  • Not weather sealed

All in all… with all that said.. I LOVE MY NEX 3!
oh also, one REALLY cool feature is the panoramic photo option. All you do is hold the shutter button and swipe your camera 180 degrees in any direction and you get a panoramic photo!



Mobile Phone Lenses

26 May

I love Gadgets. I love Photogrpahy…I LOVE my cell phone…
soooo let’s put it all together now! You get….. interchangeable lenses!
I just bought 3 lenses for my iPhone. Wide-angle Lens, Marco Lens, and a 180′ Fish Eye Lens. The lenses can be used on most mobile phones with a camera.
I actually do use my iPhone to take a lot of photos. Especially while I am on vacation and don’t always have my camera right on hand, or I am too lazy to grab it out of the bag. And I will give the iPhone some cred, it does take pretty good pictures. Now, with these easy pop on magnetic lenses, I can get cool effects quickly. I bought the set from Photo JoJo an awesome online photography store. Gear and gifts for Photography minded people.

 This is the Macro Lens, which really get amazingly close to the subject. I took a picture of my sons eyelashes, and it came out crystal clear!
This is the Telephoto lens, you can get great range with this baby… it is absurdly bulky and not at all practical. So yes, I sort of love it. Plain and simple…If  your going for distance, it works!

HAVE FUN! SNAP :)

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