Cooking · DIY · Kitchen · Tutorial

Winter time warmness: SOUP

With wintertime come many of my favorite things; one of them:soup. We always had soup at home and my mom thought me the most basic but best recipes. A few of my favorite soups are Zucchini soup, Chicken soup and here’s my special orange soup recipe for you to try at home. Ideal for warm and cozy home moments. It is pure health in a bowl: pumpkin and butternut squash are low calorie vegetables that are both incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, carotene and vitamins. They contain no saturated fats or cholesterol and are a rich source of dietary fiber and phyto-nutrients. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of the skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good eye-sight – ever seen a rabbit with glasses :)? Those orange vegetables contain adequate levels of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Ingredients needed:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 large carrots – or more if you like it sweet
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 medium sized pumpkin – there are many varieties, colors & sizes you can alternate
  • 1 large onion
  • salt & pepper
  • about a tablespoon olive oil
  • chicken/vegetable stock/cube
  • a mixer

Instructions:

  • clean, peel, and cut the vegetables as small as you can
  • heat the olive oil in a big pot
  • add the sliced onion and let it brown
  • add the vegetables and let them brown just for a few minutes
  • add boiling water
  • add salt, pepper and the cube
  • let it boil and cook on medium heat for as long as needed until all vegetables are soft enough
  • let the pot cool down and then mix together

Tip:

make plenty so you can freeze some. i usually keep them in individual plastic pots in order to freeze smaller portions and heat them up quickly later on. you can keep them up to a year in your freezer. just write the date on it.

That’s all folks. Easy and pure health and warmth.

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Bon appetit

Crafting · Design · DIY · Photography · Tutorial

DIY: Customize your photo camera

Do you have a camera? Do you like to personalize your items? Here’s a great idea to customize your camera strap. With clear and easy instructions to follow in Dutch via Elle.be and in French via Pop&Soda. Or you could do just like me: read it, print it out, plan it and then; instead of following the instructions, just improvise with what you have around you.

Materials needed: a camera, a slingshot, some fabric ribbon or an old belt, scissors and a sewing machine (or good handy sewing fingers for manual sewing or some good textile glue if you’re really impatient.)

In between my stash of yarn, collection of old and new fabrics, some denim and other recycled textiles and others, I found this wonderful ribbon from Liberty London and it perfectly fitted my camera strap! Really easy if you know how to sew and if not: again, just follow the instructions.

Here’s the result:

 

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DIY camera

www.elle.be

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http://www.popandsoda.com/diy-concours-fabriquer-une-sangle-dappareil-photo/

Baking · Israel · Judaism · Tutorial

Tutorial: How to make Challah Bread

It’s Friday again, it’s Shabbat again; let’s make Challah Bread. A lot of people discourage you from making Challah as it is a complicated process and the success of it lies it the little details. Luckily there’s Tori Avey’s website Theshiksa to help us out. It’s only when I use her tips that my Challah comes out great.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 to 6 cups flour
  • Egg Wash Ingredients: 1 egg, 1 tbsp cold water, 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional Ingredients: Raisins, chocolate chips (1 ½ cups of either)
  • Optional Toppings: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt

You will also need: Large mixing bowl, whisk or mixer, kitchen towel, cookie sheet, parchment paper, plastic wrap, pastry brush – Servings: 1 very large challah, 2 regular challahs, or 24 mini challah rolls – Kosher Key: Parve

Instructions:

  1. Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to the bowl, stir to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes. The yeast should have activated, meaning it will look expanded and foamy. If it doesn’t, your yeast may have expired, which means your bread won’t rise—go buy some fresh yeast!
  2. Once your yeast has activated, add remaining 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water to the bowl along with the egg, egg yolks, honey, canola oil and salt. Use a whisk to thoroughly blend the ingredients together. Recently Updated1
  3. Begin adding the flour to the bowl by half-cupfuls, stirring with a large spoon each time flour is added. When mixture becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to knead.
  4. Continue to add flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and not sticky. The amount of flour you will need to achieve this texture varies—only add flour until the dough feels pliable and “right.” If you plan to add raisins or chocolate chips to the challah, incorporate into the dough as you knead.Recently Updated2
  5. Place a saucepan full of water on the stove to boil.
  6. Meanwhile, remove the dough from your mixing bowl and wash out the bowl. Grease the bowl with canola oil. Push the dough back into the bottom of the bowl, then flip it over so that both sides are slightly moistened by the oil.
  7. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Place the bowl of dough on the middle rack of your oven. Take the saucepan full of boiling water and place it below the rack where your dough sits. Close the oven, but do not turn it on. The pan of hot water will create a warm, moist environment for your dough to rise. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
  8. Take the dough bowl out and punch it down several times to remove air pockets. Place it back inside the oven and let it rise for 1 hour longer.
  9. Take the dough out of the oven. Flour a smooth surface like a cutting board. Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, then turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Knead for a few minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from feeling sticky.
  10. Now your dough is ready to braid. If you plan to separate and bless the challah, do it prior to braiding. Click here to learn how to braid challah.Recently Updated3
  11. After you’ve braided your challah, place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (this will catch any spills from your egg wash and keep your challah from sticking to the cookie sheet).
  12. Note: you can put a single challah braid on a cookie sheet, since they tend to expand a lot when baking.
  13. Prepare your egg wash by beating the egg, salt and water till smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the mixture onto the visible surface of your challah. Reserve the leftover egg wash.2013-10-111
  14. Let the braid rise 30 to 45 minutes longer. You’ll know the dough is ready to bake when you press your finger into the dough and the indentation stays, rather than bouncing back.
  15. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. The challah needs to bake for about 40 minutes total, but to get the best result the baking should be done in stages. First, set your timer to 20 minutes and put your challah in the oven.
  16. After 20 minutes, take the challah out of the oven and coat the center of the braid with another thin layer of egg wash. This area tends to expand during baking, exposing areas that will turn white unless they are coated with egg wash.
  17. Turn the tray around, so the opposite side is facing front, and put the tray back into the oven. Turning the tray helps your challah brown evenly—the back of the oven is usually hotter than the front.
  18. The challah will need to bake for about 20 minutes longer. For this last part of the baking process, keep an eye on your challah—it may be browning faster than it’s baking. Once the challah is browned to your liking, take the tray out and tent it with foil, then place it back in the oven. Remove the foil for the last 2 minutes of baking time.2013-10-112
  19. Take the challah out of the oven. At this point your house should smell delicious. You can test the bread for doneness by turning it over and tapping on the bottom of the loaf—if it makes a hollow sound, it’s done. Let challah cool on the baking sheet or a wire cooling rack before serving.
  20. This recipe will make 1 very large challah, 2 regular challahs, or 24 mini challah rolls. I usually divide the dough in half to make 2 medium challahs, which are more manageable and easier to braid than a large one. Choose what works best for you. 2013-10-113Shabat Shalom
Baking · DIY · Tutorial · Uncategorized

Tutorial: Marilyn’s Apple Pie

Are we allowed to post a tutorial for baking on our blog? Hell’s yeah. I never come empty handed to family or Shabbat dinners. Therefore I’m always looking for new creations in the kitchen. Today I’m sharing an apple pie recipe that is based on existing ones but where I’ve added my own imagination and the ultimate secret ingredient* that makes the difference. Thank you Delicatessen for the inspiration and thank you Tori Avey from TheShiksa.com for the basic recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 5 ripe granny smith apples – peeled2013-10-053
  • feel free to add 2 or more other apples
  • a bowl of dried raisins
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (or more depending on your taste of) Cardamom*
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1. Start with the crust. Some people buy it. Some people make it. To make your own dough, you can use this website. Once your dough is cooling off in the fridge you can turn on your oven, heat it to 175°C and prepare a preferably round oven dish with some parchment paper.
IMG_26602. Cut your apples either in small little chopped squares or just cut them in to thin slices.

IMG_26613. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium saucepan. Then add the apples and raisins and then the orange juice, lemon, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Bring them to a boil and stir occasionally until you obtain a nice mixture and a great smell. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for exactly 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not overcook. Uncover apples at the end of cooking and remove from heat and allow to cool.

IMG_2662IMG_26644. To prepare the dough – whether from your fridge or freezer – make sure it’s not too cold so you can work it. Roll out the dough with a tool or with you hand as flat as possible. Place the flattened dough in your recipient, cut off hanging borders and keep some for the top coat. You can use your fantasy for the top coat. I try to make a little apple too for those who can see. Poor in the apple mixture. Then finish with your top coat. When preparing the actual pie, I always make some tiny little individual portions to share and taste.IMG_2666

Collages1

IMG_26775. Bake pie for 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and pie is cooked through. Serve warm or cold, whith some vanilla ice or not. Bon appétit.

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Crafting · DIY · Knitting · Lifestyle · Tutorial

Winters are more fun with Life on Mars

photoHave you ever given up something or someone and replaced it by something much better? You’re talking about your last boyfriend? I’m talking about trading cigarettes for knitting needles. One of my best decisions ever. I quit smoking  in October 2010 while on tour with Leonard Cohen in Poland and taught myself how to knit. Being a Gemini, I may be an autodidact but patience is not my strongest asset. I spent hours pausing and playing YouTube tutorials and after a few disastrous pieces of holed rags I made my first scarf.

And then, slowly but surely I started learning more about the wonderful world of knitting. There’s so much to discover about yarn, fibers, needles, techniques, stores etc. Then came the “Life on Mars” labels. Mars is my nickname since childhood, didn’t choose it, never really liked it but as it’s here to stay, why not use it well, right? I mostly knit scarves but I also love to adventure myself in new projects: socks, cowls, dolls, pillows and lately sweaters. My favorite yarn is Worsted Cotton by Blue Sky Alpacas and my favorite stitch is the brioche stitch (tutorial on Newstitchaday)

Knitting is much more than just a craft. A creative process in which every step can be delightful: from thinking and cooking the idea in your head, to finding the right yarn, feeling the fibers, imagining the colors, the actual knitting and until the final result. There’s great satisfaction when you wear your handmade creation or see someone else with it.  Is there any sexier gift for your man than a handmade scarf around his neck? Lately, and when my real-job-working-schedule allows it,  “Life on Mars” has been expanding to sewing creations like pouches and other accessories. Those items and some of the scarves below are still for sale, contact me for purchase inquiries (or for knitting advice).

I believe there’s also a deeper lever and power to knitting; call it therapy, meditation, whatever. Waiting becomes a different experience, meaning less stress and more zen. While others get nervous standing in lines, you go like “Yesh, I have that much time to do that many lines and finish this or that project”. The repetitive movements and the sound of those bamboo needles rock me into the utmost comfortable well-being.

Shalom… or to my Flemish readers (doe je) Sjaalom…

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Baking · Crafting · DIY · Shoebox · Tel Aviv · Tutorial

DIY: How to make a cookie jar out of a shoebox

I don’t know what you do when you’re “surfing” on the net, but often I look for creative projects; for the house, the garden and also a lot of practical things. Now it’s my turn to post a tutorial for a DIY project: how to make a cookie jar out of a shoebox.

1. Start by baking cookies. My 2 favorites are chocolate chip cookies (recipe by Jacques Torres’s Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies) and granola cookies (recipe by Carine Goren)

2. While they bake, take a shoebox and fill the inside with baking paper by stapling it at the corners.

3. Pick some scrapbook paper or any other material (newspaper, photos, magazines) and start gluing. This is where your creative freedom comes in. You could also paint or draw if you have that talent.

4. Take a photo and send it to me 🙂

You can use the box at home but it’s also a great present for home made cookies when you bring them to a diner!

Bon appétit.

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