Thursday, March 24, 2011

8th Days New Music Video - A Real Hit

My boys are big 8th Day fans.  Their music is fun, and in English.  Wasn't to much surprise that they really enjoyed the concert when the Marcus brothers preformed in Montreal, at the MTC, this past Chanuka, on the 8th night (how appropriate).  The spirit in the hall was electrifying, with the kids dancing through the aisles.
In concert at MTC

Posing with Bentzi Marcus
Posing with Shmuli Marcus

Of course, it should come as no surprise that my 3 boys sat glued to the screen, last night, watching the newly released music video for Ya'alili. This song is  a great dance tune and being that my kids are half Sfardi, half Ashkenazi, it hits close to home.  (yes, in our home it's not odd to see gefilta fish served along side traditional spicy sfardic salads.)
Watch the video, I'm sure you'll enjoy it just as much as we are.

This song is from their new CD called Chasing Prophecy.  You wont regret it, if you purchase it, as it contains a lot of great songs.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Purim 2011

So Purim came and went, and what a busy day it was. 
A few weeks before Purim, we get into the frenzy of themes, costumes and what to give for Mishloach Monot. 
Costumes ideas were thrown around, but nothing hit me.  I decided to go through some of my children's books for inspiration.  It hit me in "Mr. Potato Head Around The World".  My kids were going to be gondoliers from Venice.  I took out pictures from my recent trip to the Venetian in Las Vegas and had my inspiration for the costumes.  Took 2 nights of sewing plus ordering hats online (which I needed to make a new band for), and I was pleased with the end product.

Gondoliers at the Venetian

Now we needed a Mishloach Monat that could to tied in with our theme.  For the boys, we decided on pizza, fries and a coke.  For most kids, this is their favorite Italian food. 

For the adults, we decided to go with a pasta dinner.  I bought 20lbs of rainbow fassili in Jetro.  My kids sat with sanitized hands, for 4 hours, separating them by color.  I planned on making my own marinara sauce, but in the end (due to lack of time), repackaged store bought sauce.  I also included a piece of mozzarella cheese, some fresh garlic, a Rome tomato and a basil leaf for garnish.  I made Italian flag cookies as our Purim card which said "Buon Purim dalla famiglia Hagege" (Happy Purim from the Hagege family).  The Italian is thanks to my friend C.M., a born and breed Italian.


Purim was much fun, thanks to the spirit at all Purim parties.  Motzoi Shabbos, our shul had a masquerade pizza party, which was lots of fun for both kids and adults alike.  Sunday morning, we had a big breakfast after megilla reading, also at shul.  I was invited out for the Purim Seuda to a friend of mine, and boy did she cook up a scrumptious meal (Thanks G, for having us!)  The rest of the day I spent in the kitchen since I was so disorganised with my mishloach mones this year.  (thanks to being out of town the week before and having lots of orders, BH, to fill)

One of the non-theme Mishloach Monas which I also gave out.

Till next time,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Busy Pre-Purim Week

Hey!  Great to be back after 2 weeks of not being online.  Been a long, busy 2 weeks, and had little time at the computer to type up what I've been up to. 
First I spent 6 days in NY.  I haven't been there in 6 months, and although it was great to be back there, I didn't have a minute to breathe and take in what I've missed, since I was at all times busy with errands that had to be done there. 
I did get to Pomegranate on Coney Island Ave., which I haven't been to before, and was very impressed with their takeout and cheese selection.  In most stores, the takeout counters are a mess or at least not very appetising, yet at this store, everything looked so delicious.  The cheese selection was second to none, I did get to sample some of their house cheeses, and they were all amazing.  Although I've been told that their supermarket has a great selection, I didn't find that to be true.  Most kosher supermarkets have a bigger selection then them.  I did however like their fruit and vegetable aisle, which was well stocked with a nice variety.
Another store I went to, on my trip there, that I was impressed with is Jetro.  Its a restaurant and catering supply store.  I think it's only opened to the industry, to card holding members.  I got to look into whether there is such a store in Montreal, as I love the prices and selection they had. 
Got back home on Tuesday afternoon, to start to fill all my Purim orders.  I really had to hands full.  Gave over the last order on Friday at 3pm, with just enough time to make a Shabbos meal for my family (Thank G-d, this was a long Friday)  I did have to buy Challah this week, for the first time in years.
I had orders for 72 cookie cards, 14 cookie bouquets, and 9 cupcake platters  plus I had to bake my own cookie cards, pizza cookies for my kids and petit fours (sorry, in all the rush, I didn't get good pictures of those)
G-d willing, tomorrow I'll write up about how our Purim went and about our Purim theme (that is, if you haven't figured it out from my cookies ;-) ).



Have a great day,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chewy Brownies

I'm infamous for not reading directions.  Most of the time, things turn out okay (read, most of the time. Unfortunately, I have caused some mishaps because of my carelessness.)  Fortunately, this recipe was more a hit then a miss.  2 years ago, for my classes 10 year high school reunion, the amazing organizers put together a cookbook that we all contributed to.  For over a year , I made a certain brownie recipe, which was rich, chocolaty and yummy.  One day, someone asked me for the recipe, and as I was reading it to them, I realized that I never read the part about melting the chocolate chips, I just mixed it in at the end.  I still haven't tried it Sara's way, but I still have her to thank for this simple, throw into one bowl, wonderful recipe.

Chewy Brownies
  • 2 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a 9'x13' pan. Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips, it a bowl (can be done by hand).  This will be a very thick dough.  Mix in the chocolate chips. Bake in prepared pan for 25-30 minutes.  DON'T over-bake!
For a beautiful presentation, use cookie cutters and dust with confectioners (icing) sugar.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Scrumptious Pot Roast

This past Friday, as I was preparing to cook a roast, I decided to try a new recipe.  I knew I wanted something with a lot of flavor, but even as I set out to make it, I had no clue what flavor I was going to make.
I started by browning my meat on all sides.  I then decided to add some fried onions... I love cooking and having no clue whats going to become of the food until its up to the simmer point.  At this point, I went to investigate what was in the fridge.  I found a Tupperware with tomato sauce left over from something I made the night before, and so it was decided there will be tomato sauce.  I then continued to search, and came up with the Club House 5 minute Montreal Steak Spice Rub.  And from there I continued to make this wonderful recipe.  Let me tell you, even my pickiest eater (who says he hates meat) finished an entire piece without one word of complaint (if you know my boy, you would know what kind of accomplishment that is)

Scrumptious Pot Roast
  • Shoulder roast
  • flour - for rubbing
  • oil - for frying
  • 2 medium onions - sliced in rings
  • 4 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken soup
  • black pepper - to taste
  • Club House 5 minute Montreal Steak Spice Rub
Rinse and pat dry the roast.  Rub in a thin layer on flour on all sides. Brown on all sides till golden color (this helps seal in the moister to make a juicy roast.  Remove from pot.  Rub in a couple of Tablespoons of the Montreal Steak Spice Rub, and set aside to marinade.
Saute onion slices in pot till soft and just beginning to brown.  Add tomato sauce, chicken soup and black pepper.  Bring to boil.  Add roast and lower flame to simmer.  Cook on low flame for approximately 2 hours (more or less, depending on size on roast) turning once half way through.
Roast slices easiest when cold, so if time permits, wait till cold to slice, then return to sauce to reheat.  (As you can see in my pictures below,  I did not have time to wait on Erev Shabbos, and therefore the meat doesnt have the even smooth slices.)
Browned roast marinating.

Bon Appetite,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Artichokes With Vinaigrette Dip

Been a really busy week for me, don't really have the time to work on an original recipe to post.  I never had the privilege of tasting artichokes for the first 21 years of my life, and truthfully I didn't think I was missing much.  In fact, when my husband brought home artichokes and asked my to cook them, I looked at him at said "why? are you planning to eat that?"  I could not imagine how to serve those cactus looking vegetables.  They looked stiff, poky and inedible, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this creamy light food.  These artichokes are cooked till soft and then eaten dipping the individual leaves in a vinaigrette.  When you take off the leaf, you find a soft white flesh at the bottom of the inside of the leaf.  After dipping in the vinaigrette you scrape your teeth against the soft part. When you get to the center, that's the real treat!  The melt in your mouth center is mouth watering eaten dipped in the vinaigrette.  Eating this is an activity of itself.   Keep a large bowl on hand to collect the discarded leaves.

Artichokes With Vinaigrette Dip
  • Artichokes
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place Artichokes in large pot of water and bring to boil.  Artichokes are finished cooking when leaf comes out easily when pulled on.
Mix dip ingredients in a small bowl until well blended and smooth.
Serve and Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Home Reno - Before and Afters

It's been a few days since I posted.  Been pretty busy these days.  Purim is coming closer, and that has been occupying my mind on full  throttle and I've been busy getting ready the rental in my new home. (They finally moved in on Sunday!)
So, Purim preps are well underway, and I'm not even talking about my family's Purim. Orders have been coming in for cookie bouquets, cookie cards, cupcakes and even a Purim birthday cake.  Basically, I have enough work to keep me busy without the costumes I have to sew and the Meshloach Mones I have no make for the kids to give out as well as for my husband and I.
As for my house, as I mentioned before, we purchased a duplex back in November.  The house was in basic good upkeep, but all original, except for the bathroom, which was updated.  We figured that it would be a quick job to fix up the upstairs to make in desirable for a tenant.
Our first job we wanted to undertake, was to remove the wall paper.  The former owner told us not to allow our tenant to take down the wallpaper, 'cuz its so nice and expensive to put up.  We just nodded our head, and said "of course!".   We should have taken warning from that of what we would find under the paper.  First of all, I should mention that there were 3 different patterned wallpapers in rooms that look into each other.
We rented a wallpaper steamer and started the job.   It was a lot more time consuming then we ever though.  That first week of work my husband went behind the mirror  closet door, to remove the wallpaper behind it, and that door shattered on top of me, no emergency room, but till today (4 months later) I still cannot bend my left pointer finger.  The doctor and x-rays don't see anything, so I guess it's just a present from the house I will live with.  Once all the wallpaper was down, we were able to see that all the walls were very uneven and we had to plaster a lot of cracks.  Over the past few months, we (I should be fair, he not we, but I did help some of the time) spent most of our weekends at the house scrapping, plastering, painting, etc.  I must say that at the end of the day, the house looks like a different place.
Dining Room - After
Dining Room - Before

Kitchen - After
Kitchen - Before
Kitchen -After
Kitchen - Before
Hallway -Before
Hallway - After


My husband awarded himself a week off... and then on to our next project... the basement!  (which is currently a concrete room)

Till next time,