|Thanksgiving/Chanukkah pumpkin challah!|
Healthy, Hearty Breadmaker Pumpkin Challah Recipe!
|Love & Light from Chilly the Dog!|
It’s cold outside . . . what better way to make your home look, smell and feel inviting than with a loaf of freshly baked challah on the table, especially with hearty autumn flavors.
I was first forwarded a recipe for pumpkin challah by my dear Russian Jewish friend who is as excited about cooking as I am about baking.
Then, as I was reviewing the Passover Bingo email from a while back, I came across another recipe from My Jewish Learning. There
I learned that pumpkin challah--a.k.a. pan de calabaza—is enjoyed by Sephardic Jews, who imbue the bread with deep meaning.
The pumpkin represents the hope that G-d will protect the Jewish people just as the pumpkin's thick shell protects the flesh inside.
Apparently, this bread is popular with Sephardic Jews at Rosh HaShana, when eating auspicious, symbolic foods is especially important.
Personally, I think it is equally delicious served on any cold autumn or winter Shabbat when the added heartiness and kick of spice can be fully appreciated. Needless to say, the leftovers make a spectacular base for French toast or grilled cheese.
(Tomato or carrot soup, anyone?) I modified the recipes I found to add a little more fiber, and here’s the result:
Healthy, Hearty Breadmaker Pumpkin Challah
2/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup oil (I used olive; coconut is also good).
1 egg (you’ll need an additional egg for the glaze)
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups white/bread flour
1 cup wheat flour
¼ cup flax seed
¼ cup psyllium husk
¼ cup hemp seeds
1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package ( 2 ½ teaspoons) yeast
Add ingredients in order listed. Put breadmaker on dough cycle and watch it form a delicious round dough. When cycle is complete, separate the dough into 6 even sections.
You will make 2 loaves of 3-strand braided challah. Beat an egg and brush over each loaf for a shiny glaze.
Let rise in a warm place (I put my oven on Warm for 2 minutes, then turn off) for 45 minutes. Without taking the dough out of the oven, set it to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy the deliciousness!
Wishing you an Easy Fast & Inscription in the Book of Life
For anyone observing Yom Kippur, Chilly the dog and Passover bingo wish you an easy and meaningful fast. G'mar Chatima Tova - may you be written and inscribed in the Book of Life!
Apologies and forgiveness: 3 parts of an apology
The high holidays are a time of reflection for Jews all around the world. During the time leading up to Yom Kippur, it's not unusual to hear a Jewish person asking for forgiveness from someone they have wronged during the past 12 months. This is especially true between Rosh HaSahana, the Jewish New Year, when the book of Judgment is said to be opened, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when our fate is sealed by G-d.
What makes for a true apology, and when should we forgive someone? According to my favorite rabbi, who now runs the Atlanta Scholars Kollel
, the three most important aspects of a heartfelt apology are:
1. Regret - Sincerely feeling that "I am sorry I did this."
2. Letting go of the inappropriate behavior. This means stopping the hurtful action and
undertaking not to do it again (at least having the desire not to do it again); and
3. Verbalizing all of the above - unlike the commercials, love is having to say "I am sorry."
L'Shana Tova - Cutest Dog Ever wishes you a happy New Year!
Perfect Breadmaker Challah Recipe!
|Good and Sweet New Year 5774 from Chilly the Dog!|
Unlike on Passover, when we refrain from eating bread, during the upcoming holiday of Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, it is encouraged to bake and eat a round challah. The roundness of the challah represents the cycle of life, and of the year coming full circle. Challah is a traditional Jewish braided egg bread that is typically served on Shabbat (the Sabbath). During Rosh HaShanah, however, the loaves are shaped into spirals or rounds symbolizing the continuity of Creation. Sometimes raisins or honey are added to the recipe in order to make the resulting loaves extra sweet.
Here is a basic breadmaker challah recipe that I use weekly. You can add in or top the challah with different ingredients such as apples, figs, honey, or a sugary sweet topping for a new twist.
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour -- you can use white if you want. For a healthier twist (hey, I'm a Colorado girl!) I usually use 1 3/4 cups white, 1 cup whole wheat, and 1/4 cup of hemp seed, flax seed, or psyllium husk, depending on what I have on hand that day.
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1. Add ingredients to the pan of the bread machine in the order listed above.
2. Select the Dough setting.
(while the machine is working furiously to make the challah, you can go get your nails done, or clean the house, or pick out the perfect outfit to wear that night). . .
3. When the cycle is complete, take out the dough and braid or shape it as desired.
4. Let the shaped challah rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes. If you would like, you can beat an egg and brush it lightly over the challah at this point for a glossier finish.
I put the challot in silicone bread pans. They just pop right out when they're done with very little mess.
5. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.
6. Try to refrain from eating it until the whole crowd gathers. Just try! It's challenging . .
7. Eat and enjoy :)
Fig, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt Challah
|Fig stuffed Challah straight from the oven|
This recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen
. Assuming you know how to make a basic challah, one of the basic traditional Jewish recipes, (and if you don't, I'll post a recipe soon), here is the secret for the fig filling, and method. Fig Filling
1 cup (5 1/2 ounces or 155 grams) stemmed and roughly chopped dried figs
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest, or more as desired
1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Few grinds black pepperDirections:
I found it easiest to make the fig paste in a food processor, pulsing until it resembled a fine paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. You could also combine all of the ingredients above. Place ingredients in a small saucepan, simmer over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the figs are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and let cool to lukewarm. Set aside to cool.Insert figs:
After your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured counter and divide it in half. Roll the first half of the dough into a wide and totally imperfect rectangle (really, the shape doesn’t matter). Spread half the fig filling evenly over the dough, stopping short of the edge. Roll the dough into a long, tight log, trapping the filling within. Then gently stretch the log as wide as feels comfortable (I take mine to my max counter width, a pathetic three feet), and divide it in half. Repeat with remaining dough and fig filling.
Braid the challah dough. Transfer the dough to a parchment-cover heavy baking sheet, or, if you’ll be using a bread stone, a baker’s peel. Beat egg until smooth, and brush over challah. Let challah rise for another hour, but 45 minutes into this rise, preheat your oven to 375°F.Bake your loaf:
Before baking, brush loaf one more time with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in middle of oven for 35 to 40 minutes. It should be beautifully bronzed; if it starts getting dark too quickly, cover it with foil for the remainder of the baking time. The best way to check for doneness is with an instant-read thermometer — the center of the loaf should be 195 degrees.
Cool loaf on a rack before serving. (Good luck with that - mine last about 2 minutes before I had to try a slice . . . ) Eat and enjoy!
Shabbat Shalom and bon appetit!
Jewish Denver loves Israel!On May 19, 2013, the Denver Jewish community participated in a Walk for Israel and the Celebrate Family festival. We thought you might enjoy these photos showing Denver Jews and other people who support Israel and the Jewish community engaging in fun, family-centered activities. Photos courtesty of Radio Chavura! Photo Credit: Avital Rotbart, Radio Chavura.
Fun Passover ideas for kids!
We spent most of yesterday morning at the JCC-South
, where the Passover Bingo
game was featured as a "station" at the Jewish Community Center's "Passover Sampler." Kids has the chance to play the game, which resulted in a lot of running back and forth to get mom or dad's credit card and buy the game so they could play it more later. We especially loved one of the kids who quietly approached us while families were still registering, so he could take a sneak peek at the game. Then, when it was time for the first small group to play the colorful bingo board game, he already knew the answers to several of the clues we called out. For instance, before I could even finish asking the name of the leader who led the Israelites out of Egypt and split the Red Sea, he called out "MOSES!" and marked a square on his bingo board.
|First winner claiming her prize at the JCC-South Passover Sampler!|
The great thing about Passover Bingo is that every kid is a winner! Whether you play the game while reading through the Hagaddah at the seder, or quiz each other like we did yesterday on the key words associated with the holiday, eventually everyone will fill up at least a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line and get a BINGO.
We were very impressed with the other stations and creative ideas expressed at the Passover Sampler. There was a "Tiger Tales" story time featuring a story about Sammy the Spider who wanted to celebrate Passover rather than spinning a web; a room where kids could make pyramids out of sugar cubes and styrofoam cups, another room with tools to grate fresh horseradish and stir up ingredients for charoset; and finally a room to decorate festive (plastic) wineglasses. What struck me most about the day was that everything was low-tech but high in the fun factor. For a few precious hours, we just played games and used our creativity and imagination without the assistance of electronic devices. How often does that really happen anymore . . . in my world, not very often!
One week and counting till the first Seder of 2013 . . . are you ready yet?
Compliments of Eve Levy/The Jewish Experience Denver:
1 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnut
1/4 tsp. dry ginger
1/4 cup sweet wine
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times until a coarse paste is formed.
Alternatively, cut the ingredients into very small pieces and mash for several minutes, then add wine, after all ingredients are combined.
DIY plague kit
So last night at the Jewish Experience
's Rosh Chodesh group, we heard from the brilliant and eloquent Eve Levy about women's role in the Exodus (way to go, Miriam!!) and also some tips on making the seder more fun for kids.
You know how there are those plague kits all over the place now? Well, Mrs. Levy made some good suggestions about creating a plagues out of inexpensive items. For instance: for the plague of BLOOD, make shot glasses filled with jello. For hail, you can use marshmallows (much softer impact than golf or wiffle balls), and so on . . . She also shared one family's trick to getting kids involved in the Seder and the story of Exodus: they get two long, thick streams of ribbon (or you can use blue bed sheets or other fabric) to simulate the sea. Adults hold the fabric in two parallel lines, and kids can run down the line on the carpet as they "cross the sea." Then, if someone dressed up as Pharaoh tries to cross, the sea closes (the sheets or fabric get thrown over him) and he drowns! A multi-sensory experience to get us all in the Passover spirit.
We also acquired a recipe for delicious Sephardi Charoset that was sampled at the event, but that will have to wait for another time . . .
Passover Bingo beats plague bags any day
Love this shout-out from Our Tribe & Joy, a great Jewish mom blog! Passover Bingo beats plague bags any day
Upcoming Events featuring Passover Bingo
Passover Bingo will be around town in the next few weeks leading up to Passover. On Tuesday, March 12, we'll have the game at the Jewish Experience'
s Rosh Chodesh Ladies' Night Out.
Then, on March 17, we will be demonstrating the game at the JCC-South Denver's
9:30-11:30 a.m. $15/family
JCC South Denver: 9625 E. Arapahoe Road, Greenwood Village, 80112 (NW corner of Arapahoe and Dayton)
Designed for children 3 years – first grade.
Children and their families are invited to experience an interactive Passover program. Learn about the traditions of Passover through storytelling, art, delicious holiday food, and Passover Bingo. JCC South Denver is partnering with Hebrew Educational Alliance, Denver Jewish Day School’s Tiger Tales for storytelling program, and Passover Bingo. To register, contact Dani Wynn or Melissa Hoch at southdenver@jccdenver or 303-799-6975.
Spice Up Seder with Passover Bingo – Jew and the Carrot – Forward.com
Great article about Passover Bingo by the brilliant Denver writer Nina Snyder! Spice Up Seder with Passover Bingo – Jew and the Carrot – Forward.com
Delicious Matza Toffee
Sometimes it is hard to find delicious foods to eat during the Passover holiday. We still crave sweet and salty items, but the lack or bread, regular cakes, cookies, muffins, etc. can be challenging. Don't fret! We have tested this recipe for Chocolate Matza Toffee, and think you'll enjoy it to satisfy your sweet tooth while still keeping the dietary restrictions of Passover.
This recipe makes about 30 servings of chocolate Matza Toffee.
6 whole matzos
1 cup salted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
20 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with foil and pinch the edges into a lip to contain drips. Grease the foil well with butter. Place the matzos onto the baking sheets, breaking them in half if needed.
Melt the butter in a saucepan with the brown sugar over medium heat; bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer the mixture until thickened, about 5 minutes. Ladle the hot sugar mixture over the matzos, spreading the mixture over the matzos with a rubber spatula.
Bake in the preheated oven until the sugar mixture is bubbling and thick, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool until the toffee coating is firm, about 15 minutes.
Place the semisweet chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on Low until the chips are just melted (do not let the chocolate overheat or scorch). Spread the melted chocolate over the toffee-coated matzos; sprinkle chopped pecans on top. Place the baking sheets into the refrigerator until the treats are cold, about 30 minutes. Remove the matzos from the foil, break up into pieces, and store in an airtight container or plastic bags in refrigerator or freezer.
Devour and enjoy :)
Passover 2013/5773 Vacation Plans
Passover is not too far away . . . who has cool plans? There are all sorts of Kosher-for-Passover trips and accommodations available, from "VIP" programs at swanky resorts in Scottsdale, to Carribean cruises, or entire weeks stretching out on the beach in Florida and grazing on delicious kosher food. Since Passover 2013/ 5773 falls very close to Spring Break time, we're guessing that hotels and airlines will charge a premium for Passover vacations this year.
Here at Passover Bingo, the plan so far is to decompress after what will be a hectic first season selling the Passover Bingo games. We are still a few months out, and sales have already started trickling in through the internet, and we got the word out through a recent promotion. The prospects for increased sales are very exciting, and the fact that people are ordering multiple games to play at large seders and keep all seder participants fully engaged thrills us to no end!Let us know
your cool Passover plans, especially if the place you're going needs to stock up on games!
Why is this holiday different from all other holidays?
According to the National Jewish Population Surveyhttp://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=33650
, Passover is the most widely observed Jewish holiday. There are an estimated 5-7 million American Jews, and 77% of them have a Passover seder meal on the first and second nights of the holiday.
For comparison purposes, 72% of American Jews celebrate Chanukkah, and 46% belong to a synagogue. Why is Passover so widely observed? Do Jewish people like the idea of freedom? Do we really enjoy the dry unleavened bread? Or is it because Passover is the holiday where we became aware that we were G-d's Chosen People?
Passover cuts across the different levels of observance among Jewish people - more than 3/4 of all Jews in America will be sitting at a festively decorated table on the evenings of March 25 and 26 reading the story of Exodus from a Hagaddah booklet, and hopefully keeping kids engaged with the Passover Bingo game
, which features words and images from the key elements of the story of Exodus on easy to follow Bingo boards.
Educating the retailers
This week has been very exciting so far! I met with several local Denver bookstores and synagogue book shops. The synagogues knew right away what I was talking about when I mentioned the Passover Bingo game, no explanation needed. The large independently owned bookshop . . . well that was another story. First I had to pretty much stalk the buyer, who is crammed into an office in the basement with piles of products to review. No wonder he was too busy to return my calls! I presented him with the Passover Bingo game, and he wondered if it would be as popular as the Hanukkah gifts. I told him that no matter how you spell it, Chanukah is only made into a bigger deal of a holiday because it falls near Christmas, and that more Jews have Passover seders than celebrate any other Jewish holiday. With this fresh knowledge, he took another look at the game and ordered some for the stores! Yippee! Had a similar experience at a housewares chain, which will be written about in a future post. Meanwhile, only one day left in our Jewcer campaign, http://jewcer.com/project/passover-bingo-gameThe fulfillment team has been busy getting the games ready for shipment! I am very grateful to have a kind and responsive team supporting me.
Fun and games during Passover
Let's face it... we're all kids at heart! Why not act that way? Each year during the Passover holiday, we prepare a Seder, during which we read the story of Exodus
from the Hagaddah
and enjoy a delicious feast of special Passover foods. Today, it takes a lot to keep people's attention for more than 160 characters, especially the under 4 feet crowd. What to do? Why not make your Seder more fun by giving participants a game to play to bone up on Passover basics before the holiday, or even playing bingo while you read the Hagaddah?
During a Passover (Pesach) Seder, you can follow a Bingo game's traditional rules by placing a marker for specific words that are mentioned during the reading of the Hagaddah, or make your own creative variation. A word list and explanations are included in our version, so the bingo game can be played any time people get in the Pesach mood. Playing the Passover Bingo game
, whether a homemade one or professionally designed one, adds an interactive element to your seder!
Of course, Passover Bingo is not the only game you can play during Passover, though it's one of the few that you can actually use to make the Seder more fun. There are lots of other free and creative ideas you can use to make the holiday more fun and interesting for kids. For instance, you could play a Passover version of "Jeopardy," having Passover-related words in mind and making kids formulate questions about them. You could have categories like "plagues," "numbers," and "people," by having questions such as:
• BLOOD -- What is the first plague?
• ELIJAH -- Who is the guest that mysteriously appears to drink wine?
• FOUR -- What is the number of cups of wine we drink at the Seder?
• FOUR -- What are the number of questions asked during the Seder?
• FOUR -- What is the number of sons?
• FROGS -- what is the second plague
• MATZAH -- What is made of dough that didn't have time to rise as our forefathers were rushed out of Egypt?
• WISE, WICKED, SIMPLE, UNKNOWING -- Who are the four sons?
• TEN -- What are the number of plagues?
These are just some of the ideas we have to make your Passover holiday more fun. Please contact us if you have others to share!
Friends make the virtual world go round . . .
Publicity and Endorsements
We are so excited that the coolest Jewish mom blog site, Kveller, reviewed and loves our product! They have mentioned us on their Facebook and Twitter feeds, as have several other publications and blogs. If you haven't heard, we're currently running a promotion, through Friday January 11th, with Jewcer, whereby people will be able to get the game at a discounted price if enough people participate in the promotion (it's at http://jewcer.com/project/passover-bingo-game if you want to check it out).
Due to feedback that has been received, we've also recently revised the instruction sheet to include a call sheet with the words on the squares, together with explanations. This way, people can play the game to learn about the Passover holiday before or after the seder, and of course you can still play traditional Passover Bingo during the seder by listening for key words as the Haggadah is read and covering the squares appropriately.
More news coming soon!
We celebrated several milestones this week. The first "live" order (to a friend, at lunch, but that still counts, right?) and our first internet order! Woo hoo! We are growing in Twitter and Facebook followers, too. Most exciting is the fact that we now have Facebook fans who we don't personally know. The Facebook "insights" page shows that we have several hundred people who saw our posts or comments on our posts, and tens of thousands of potential eyeballs who are friends of our fans. This is all very exciting, and add to that the fact that our credit card processing system is back up and running again. Phew! What a week.
Creating a Passover Game. . .
Creating a new game has been quite a learning experience. I thought it would be simple: design the game, find a manufacturer, order, and sell. Oh, but there are so many intermediate steps! Customs. Two different web guys (one who helped out of the goodness of his heart; the other to whom we paid a pretty penny). Payment gateways. Customs brokers. Logistics centers. Warehouse and fulfillment centers -- the first one tried to screw us in so many ways! But, it was all worth it when we went to the warehouse the other day and saw the pallets of gleaming Passover Bingo games sitting there, ready to get into the hot hands of people who want to be ready for the holiday. Absolutely thrilled with the quality, and with the fulfillment center we eventually ended up with, who loves small businesses. Hoping that the sales go quickly and smoothly so we can order another batch before Passover 2013!