Eighth Night of Hanukkah

Dear Sis,

We started the evening with a game of dreidel.

We used this helpful chart style instruction sheet to guide our game.

Then, Charlotte lit the Menorah while I sang the blessings.

Baruch ahah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam, asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav, vitzivanu, lehadlik ner shel Hanukkah. Give thanks for the blessing of lighting the Hanukkah candles.

Baruch ahah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam, she-asah missim la-avotaynu bayamim ha-hem barman hazen. Give thanks for the miracles performed for our ancestors.

I put the finishing touches on dinner, while Charlotte read The Chanukkah Guest to the three kiddos.

Menu

Latke Topped Salmon served with Applesauce and Sour Cream

Roasted Root Vegetables and Dinner Rolls

Pecan Cheesecake Pie

Latke Topped Salmon
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 pound salmon filet (thick end)
  2. 2 T butter or ghee, cubed
  3. salt and pepper
  4. 16 oz package shredded hash brown potatoes
  5. 1/4 c butter or ghee
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. Place salmon in prepared dish. Arrange bits of butter on top. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 20-25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, brown potatoes in ghee, in a hot skillet until moderately crisp and golden.
  4. Top salmon with cooked hash brown. Serve with applesauce and sour cream on the side.
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They don’t look glamorous because my photography is lacking a certain je ne said quoi, as it usually does, but I assure you… they taste glamorous!

Roasted Root Vegetables
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 beets
  2. 4 carrots
  3. 3 parsnips
  4. 2 sweet potatoes
  5. 1 red onion
  6. 1/2 c cider vinegar
  7. 1/2 c olive oil
  8. 1/4 c brown sugar
  9. 1 t thyme
Instructions
  1. Peel and thinly slice all vegetables.
  2. Preheat oven to 450. Line two jellyroll pans with foil.
  3. Combine vinegar, oil, sugar, and thyme. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat.
  4. Spread vegetables evenly over prepared pans. Bake 35-40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.
Notes
  1. In future, I plan to by raw pre-cut sweet potato fries and half baby carrots to save prep time.
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Adapted from Simply Recipes
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I used this recipe. However, I intend to use the changes in the recipe below in future.

Pecan Cheesecake Pie
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Ingredients
  1. 1 refrigerated pie crust
Cheesecake Layer
  1. 2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, soft
  2. 1/4 c granulated sugar
  3. 2 eggs
Pecan Layer
  1. 2/3 c dark corn syrup
  2. 2/3 c granulated sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 1/2 T butter, melted
  5. 1 t vanilla extract
  6. 1 c pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a springform pan. Center and press pie crust into pan.
  2. Beat together cheese layer. Pour over crust.
  3. Beat together pecan layer, stirring in nuts last. Pour over cheese layer carefully, so they don't mix.
  4. Lightly fold down any crust that extends more than 1/4 inch beyond filling. Bake 50-60 minutes.
Adapted from Inside BruCrew Wife
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With only 25 days left until the big move, it was biter sweet for us to talk as the children played into the night. They weren’t just neighbors, they were and are friends so wonderful they embraced us like family! We’ll miss Texas because of all the wonderful people and the strong sense of community we will be leaving behind, but we will work hard to recreate it in our next home!!!

Hope your Hanukkah was great like ours!

Love,

b

 

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Our Little Pumpkin is One

Dear Sis,

We had fun celebrating Mr. Baby’s first birthday with our neighbor friends. Our menu consisted of some of Mr. Baby’s favorite foods:

Chicken Nuggets

Mac and Cheese

Broccoli

Fruit Salad in Jack o Lantern Bowls

(made by our neighbor Merrill; inspired by Pinterest)

Pumpkin Patch Cake

Mac and Cheese
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. small pasta, cooked
  2. 1/4 c ghee or butter
  3. 3/4 c milk
  4. 1 (10.75 oz) can Cream of Cheddar soup
  5. 1 c gouda, shredded
  6. 1 c sharpe cheddar, shredded
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain.
  2. Over low heat, stir in ghee until melted.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese is melted and smooth.
Adapted from jamiegoof
Adapted from jamiegoof
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Pumpkin Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  2. 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  3. 1 c avocado oil
  4. 4 eggs, beaten
  5. 2 c unbleached flour
  6. 2 t baking powder
  7. 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  8. 1 t baking soda
Frosting
  1. 2 (8 oz) pkg Neufchatel cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1 c powdered sugar
  4. 1 T vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Beat together puree, sugar, oil, and eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes. Cool.
Frosting
  1. Beat together all ingredients and spread over cooled pumpkin bars.
Notes
  1. If you choose to decorate your pumpkin bars, wait until the last minute, so the candies don't begin to dissolved and ooze. In the photos below you can see we learned that the hard way:)
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After our company left, Mr. Baby played with his new toys and shoes for a little while, I cleared away all the scattered packaging and added the new books to the shelf, and then Mr. Baby fell fast asleep. It was a big day of our little boy!

Love,

b

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Focaccia Bread

Dear Sis,

We had a new neighborhood Mama over for dinner last night. Her new baby boy is one month old. There was lots of baby and breastfeeding discussion over dinner:) I tried some new recipes for the occasion.

Focaccia Bread
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c olive oil
  2. 2 T minced garlic
  3. 1 T fresh rosemary or 1 t dry
  4. 1 T fresh thyme or 1 t dry
  5. 1/4 t ground pepper
  6. 1 c warm water
  7. 2 1/4 t active dry yeast
  8. 1 T honey
  9. 2 1/2 c unbleached flour
  10. 1 t salt
  11. 1 t garlic powder
  12. 1/2 c Parmesan, shredded
Instructions
  1. Heat oil and herbs in an iron skillet 5 - 10 minutes, take care not to burn garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a nonmetallic bowl, dissolve yeast in water and honey.
  3. Separate garlic from oil. Add to yeast mixture along with 1/4 c oil mixture.
  4. Stir in flour 1/2 c at a time and salt. Knead until smooth.
  5. Oil dough. Cover and rise 1 hour.
  6. Heat oven to 450. Grease 9x13 pan with 2 T herb oil. Press dough into pan. Spread remaining herb oil over bread. Dust with garlic powder.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and cool on wire rack.
Notes
  1. Stores airtight in fridge a few days.
Adapted from Inspired Taste
Adapted from Inspired Taste
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Focaccia paired well with Braised Beef Tortellini and Cesar Salad.

I also made Coconut Cream Pie for dessert but forgot to take a picture.

Coconut Cream Pie
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pie shell, baked
  2. 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
  3. approx. 3/4 c heavy cream
  4. 3 yolks
  5. 3/4 c sugar
  6. 1/3 c cornstarch
  7. 1/4 t salt
  8. 1 t coconut extract
  9. 1 t vanilla extract
  10. 3/4 c toasted coconut flakes
Topping
  1. 1/2 c heavy cream
  2. 1/4 c powdered sugar
  3. 1/4 c toasted coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Combine milk, cream, yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring until thick.
  2. Stir in extracts and coconut. Pour into baked pie shell. Cool at room temperature. Chill.
  3. Beat heavy cream to stiff peak, adding powdered sugar 1 T at a time. Spread over coconut custard. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
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Love,

b

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Rosh Hashanah Dinner

Dear Sis,

Our dinner was a success! I think I’ve had enough pomegranate until next year:)

Honey Apple Challah
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 c warm water
  2. 1 egg + 1 yolk
  3. 6 T honey
  4. 1 T olive oil
  5. 1 t vanilla
  6. 1 t salt
  7. 4 c bread flour
  8. 1 T dry active yeast
Apples Filling
  1. 1 granny smith apple
  2. 1/4 c sugar
  3. 1 t lemon juice
Egg Wash
  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 T water
Instructions
  1. Place wet and dry ingredients in a bread machine in the order they appear, placing yeast on top. Manually program bread machine: 2 pound loaf, first rise 40 minutes, second rise 30 minutes, no shaping, or baking.
  2. Peel, and finely dice apple. Toss with sugar and lemon juice, set aside.
  3. Divide dough into four equal portions. Shape dough into long ropes. Flatten into strips and place bits of diced apple in the center of each length of dough. Reshape dough into ropes around apples. Braid into a round loaf. Use the link below as a reference if you aren't sure how to go about it. Transfer loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet. Rise 30 minutes.
  4. Whisk together egg and water and brush over loaf. Dust with coarse sugar if desired. Bake at 350. 20 minutes. Brush with another coat of egg wash. Tent with foil, to prevent over browning, and return to oven 20 - 25 minutes.
  5. Tap bottom of loaf to test doneness. Should sound hallow. Cool on wire rack before serving.
Adapted from Tori Avery
Adapted from Tori Avery
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How to Braid a Round Challah

Roast Fowl with Apple Stuffing
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. whole chicken or duck
Stuffing
  1. 1 lb. ground turkey
  2. 2 green apples
  3. 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 t marjoram
  6. salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Peel, core, and chop apples.
  3. Mix apple, crumbs, egg, and marjoram into ground turkey to create stuffing.
  4. Remove neck and giblets from fowl. Place in a roasting pan and pack check cavity with stuffing. Dust skin with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 2 hours more. Rest 30 minutes before serving.
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New Fruits for the New Year Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 6 c arugula
  2. seeds of 1 pomegranate
  3. 1 apple, diced
  4. 1/2 red onion, minced
  5. 4 dry dates, diced
  6. 1/4 c walnuts, coarsely crushed
Dressing
  1. 1/2 c olive oil
  2. 3 T red wine vinegar
  3. 2 T lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 T honey
  5. 1 T minced garlic
  6. 1 1/2 t salt
  7. 1/2 t pepper
Instructions
  1. Place arugula in a salad bowl or individual dishes and top with fruit and nuts.
  2. Place dressing ingredients in a pint jar and shake to combine before each use.
Adapted from Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller
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After our meal, we greeted the New Year with the tradition of apples dipped in honey and watched a Youtube video featuring shofar blasts🙂

Pomegranate Fudge
Serves 16
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Ingredients
  1. 4 c Quality Chocolate chips of preferred variety (I like 2 1/2 c Milk chocolate, 1/2 c semi-sweet, and 1 c dark)
  2. 1 (14.5 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  3. 1/4 c Pomegranate Molasses
  4. 1 t salt
  5. Pomegranate seeds (opt)
Instructions
  1. Line a square pan with parchment in both directions, so that fudge will lift out easily once set.
  2. Melt together chocolate, milk, molasses, and salt in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. Pour and spread into prepared pan. Press pomegranate seeds into fudge as desired. Cool at room temperature until set. Cut just before serving.
Notes
  1. Store fudge wrapped in parchment. Fudge lasts until it begins to dry out. However, fruit topped fudge lasts only for the day it is made.
Adapted from Honest & Tasty
Adapted from Honest & Tasty
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Pomegranate Molasses Recipe

Rosh Hashanah Party Favors

Love,

b

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Tex-Mex Night

Dear Sis,

Cousin Blue already had Texas barbecue while the Grannys and Aunts were in town, so the remaining food experience we had to share with him… some good Tex-Mex! We used to buy it for visitors, but I’ve gotten so good at making it during our time here, I made some homemade. 

Tex-Mex Menu

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas on Fresh Baked Tortillas

Ready to Cook Flour Tortillas can be found in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores.

Mexican Rice

Fried Ice Cream

Mexican Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 2 T avocado oil
  2. 3/4 c long grain white rice
  3. 2 c chicken stock
  4. 1 c frozen corn
  5. 1 c frozen peas
  6. 2 minced serrano peppers
  7. 1 diced white onion
  8. 1 diced roma tomato
  9. 1 peeled and diced carrot
  10. 2 T tomato paste
  11. 1 t minced garlic
  12. 1/2 t salt
Instructions
  1. Lightly brown rice in oil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
  2. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes or until chicken stock is absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat. Rest 5 minutes and fluff with a fork before serving.
Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch
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Love,

b

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Salmon Alfredo

Dear Sis,

Tonight we invited all our neighborhood friends to dinner. Originally, we were planning on an outdoor affair, but we got rained out. All the rain brought out frogs! This little guy was on our door step. Mr. Baby enjoyed watching it hop. Images of my baby picking up the frog and putting it in his mouth were running through my mind as I held him back:)

Back to the dinner… We had Salmon Alfredo, Toss Salad, Dinner Rolls, Minted Peaches & Berries, and Chocolate Chip Cookies, which Charlotte made. Everything was super yummy and the babies had fun playing together when their tummies were full:)

Salmon Alfredo
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. salmon, baked & flaked
  2. 12 oz pkg frozen peas, thawed
  3. 9 oz fresh Fettuccini, cooked
Alfredo
  1. 1/2 c salted butter
  2. 1 shallot, minced
  3. 1 c heavy whipping cream
  4. 2 c Parmesan, shredded
  5. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Toss together salmon, peas, and pasta in a serving dish.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté shallot until tender.
  3. Add cream and heat until warm enough to melt cheese.
  4. Stir in cheese a 1/2 cup at a time until smooth and thick.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over pasta and toss.
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Minted Peaches & Berries
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Ingredients
  1. 15 oz can peach slices in juice, drained
  2. 1 c blueberries
  3. 1 c strawberries, sliced
  4. 6 mint leaves, minced
Instructions
  1. Toss together fruit. Top with mint.
  2. Serve chilled. Whipped topping optional:)
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Love,

b

 

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Salad Pittsburgh Style

Dear Sis,

I invited a neighbor for dinner tonight. I made Salmon Patties and Strawberry Romaine Salad with Raspberries Vinaigrette and Fries. I forgot that fries on a salad was a regional thing, but it just may catch on in Texas:) 

Salmon Patties
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 pound fresh salmon
  2. 1/2 c Italian bread crumbs
  3. 2 eggs, beaten
  4. 1/4 c dry cranberries
  5. 2 T mayonaise
  6. 1 T avocado oil
Instructions
  1. Bake salmon at 450 for 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Peel off skin. Flake salmon with a fork.
  2. Combine flaked salmon, bread crumbs, eggs, cranberries, and mayonnaise. Shape into 4-5 patties.
  3. Panfry patties in oil over medium heat until golden on each side. Serve warm over Strawberry Romaine Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette.
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It turns out Salmon Patties make great finger food for babies!

Strawberry Romaine Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
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Salad
  1. 4 c chopped romaine lettuce
  2. 1/4 c chopped carrots
  3. 1/4 c sliced radishes
  4. 1/4 c sliced strawberries
  5. 1/4 c shredded gouda cheese
  6. baked french fries (optional)
Dressing
  1. 1/2 c raspberries
  2. 1 T brown sugar
  3. 1 T olive oil
  4. 1 t balsamic vinegar
Salad
  1. Toss together lettuce, carrots, radishes, strawberries, and cheese.
  2. Top with warm french fries just before serving.
Dressing
  1. Puree together all ingredients with an immersion blender. Drizzle over salad as desired.
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Love,

b

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Harvard Beets

Dear Sis,

Josh was out of town Sunday night, so dad and I had beets with our slow cooked roast with carrots and mashed potatoes. 

Harvard Beets
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 3 medium beets, washed & trimmed
  2. 1/4 c water
  3. 2 T brown sugar
  4. 2 T cider vinegar
  5. 1 T salted butter or ghee
  6. 1 T cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Place beets in an oven safe dish. Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes at 350. Stand 45 minutes.
  2. Peel and slice beets, reserve beet juice. Place beets and juice in a saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add sugar, vinegar, and butter. Stir periodically until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
  4. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Stir into beet mixture and cook until thick.
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 Love,

b

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