The VERY BEST Oatmeal Cookies!

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Wow! It’s been so long since my last post and while I have some fun creative ideas brewing I see that it’s going to take time to share them but don’t worry, Purim is on my mind and up next!

In the meantime, we hosted an event here last night called ‘Emotional Sobriety’ with guest speaker Rabbi Shais Taub. He was incredible and his message was OH SO APROPOS! ….I mean how many of us truly wish we could ‘let go’….and I mean, really ‘let go’ and live and be in the moment and truly show up for own life even in the ‘in-between’ moments and in the challenging ones especially.

So of course dessert was on the menu and I stumbled across this oatmeal cookie that is literally the most delicious oatmeal cookie I have ever tasted! It is worth the added step of toasting the oats and pecans so don’t skip this if you want that perfect cookie!

Enjoy!

OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES (from bon appetite.com)

MAKES 24 COOKIES

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used earth balance margarine)
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 cup raisins, dried sour cherries, and/or dried cranberries (I omitted all these as I like my oatmeal cookies plain:)

Preheat oven to 425°.

Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Add pecans, toss to combine, and continue toasting until pecans are fragrant and oats are deep golden brown, about 6 minutes more. Let cool sightly.hisk flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; stir in oats and pecans.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl, scraping down sides of bowl, until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Add egg, syrup, and vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients and raisins and continue to beat, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl, until just combined. Let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour to hydrate oatmeal.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 2-oz. ice cream scoop, portion cookies and place on sheets, spacing 3″ apart (or measure out mounded scoops with a ¼-cup measuring cup). Do not flatten; cookies will spread as they bake.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden brown and firm but centers are soft, 15–17 minutes. Let sit on sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks; let cool.

Do Ahead: Cookie dough can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill. Let dough come to room temperature before baking.

DIY Car Menorah Craft Project!

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This Chanukah I decided to plan some fun home – projects, crafts and activities for Chanukah! Today we had a really fun time making car menorahs!

From age 2 and up, each of my kids built, painted and decorated their ‘cars’ and then using the clay, they made menorahs and dreidels and stuck them onto the tops of their cars! (looking just like ours in the driveway!)

An instant Chanukah parade:)

Wishing all of you a most beautiful happy Chanukah!

Air drying modeling clay is so easy to use and the colors in this brand were incredible! You can purchase it on amazon. It’s is called:  SySrion Air Dry Clay.

The toy cars were so easy for all ages and were super fun for everyone! You can order them from amazon as well. Search for : “Melissa & Doug Decorate-Your-Own Wooden Race Car Craft Kit”

Chanukah in a Box!

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Have you ever wanted to give someone a whole bunch of Chanukah items and yet couldn’t quite find the right packaging?

Well, after many different styles and attempts and bags and boxes, I finally found a way that you can package a beautiful ‘Chanukah in a box’!

Using a bottle carrier box, you can easily fit a Menorah, chocolate gelt, dreidels, oil for an oil Menorah or for making latkes AND potatoes if you wish! (Accompanied of course with a Chanukah guide and my favorite latke recipe!)

It’s cute, simple, compact and is completely stable to stand on it’s own and to be easily handed off to someone special!

Here’s what you need:

Tags and labels are from evermine.com

The box is from evermine.com (look in packaging)

The oil is from trader joes (scrub the front label and stick on your own in place.)

The oil Menorah can be bought from http://www.judaica-world.com

(And if you wish to insert the tin menorah’s, they do fit (just gently bend at the slightest angle and then re-pack the candles into a cello bag and slide into one of the sections of the box).

(Disclaimer: don’t personalize tags at midnight:(….there shouldn’t be an apostrophe in the word LATKA!)

 

Chanukah Bags!

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It’s almost Chanukah and the excitement and energy is contagious!

This year we decided to pack our Chanukah chocolate gelt and dreidels in cotton bags that were hand stamped with a personalized stamp. (We also added a tag to make it stand out.)

These are perfect to give out at events as well as to easily carry in your purse to give out should the moment arise.

The Details:

The bags are from uline. Click here to order

The stamp is from paper source. Click here to order

The dreidels are from here.

The tags are from evermine.com

The Chocolate Gelt coins can be ordered here.

Wishing everyone a Happy Chanukah!

Laughter and Learning!

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A fun way to package a ‘take along’ gift is to use these bottle carriers.

With four compartments used for drinks, you can easily pack some nosh and water bottles for two!

I used this as a favor to give our at a Melave Malka for a father and son event and it definitely brought smiles!

I personalized the front with a label from evermine.com and then made a matching coaster to hold hot cocoa.

Along with the package went mini bowling erasers to be used at school in keeping with the activity of the evening – bowling!

‘Laughter and Learning’ was a beautiful night with just that…lots of laughing while enjoying ‘father and son’ learning!

*Bottle boxes are from evermine.com (in packaging section)

Chanukah Jug of ‘Oil’.

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A very (calming) fun jug of ‘oil’!

This is easy and mesmerizing to make and I can assure you, that you will enjoy testing it out!

All you need is glitter glue, glitter, a jar ( I used a plastic container with a screw top lid) and some water. You will also need strong packaging tape just to make sure the lid truly stays on!

Squeeze a little glitter glue into the jar (there’s really no right or wrong amount….I would say I used about 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp of glitter glue), and add a bit of water, add some glitter, about a teaspoon or two and then put the lid on and shake well. Open the lid and fill the jar with more water almost until the top. Tighten the lid and tape well and cover with colored paper with your “My Chanukah Jug of Oil” sign on it.

Tip the jug back and forth to see the “oil” sparkle and shine….

A great craft for Hebrew school, mommy and me and Chanukah parties!

In Loving Memory.

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7 long years.

I close my eyes and I can touch and feel the warmth of my father.

It is so real, so alive and so very deep.

And as close as I am, behind my eyelids shut tight, ‘time’ seems to shift me further from the day he passed away.

I am reminded daily of loss and longing, as I go about my journey.

Yet he smiles at me from his photo on my desk and from the images engraved in my heart.

I think about the creativity we shared and still share.

I think about the days I feel so stubborn that I say to myself, that today, I will call him and share in my day…I don’t care what the world knows about death and the end of life.

I feel stubborn and sad, so very sad.

How can one be creative in a relationship with one who has passed away?

How can one be still, with the bursting of emotion and the speech in one’s heart?

Is it possible to silence the cries? the spirit? the longing?

I have found that the closeness continues.

The love. The connection, the ‘life’ of death.

Let me share with you where I have found comfort and a continued life with my father.

In fact, it’s in these very things we call ‘words’.

Where letters form to tell the stories of our mind.

Where emotion and tales paint the canvas with expression and vitality.

Where the nostalgia of the past and dreams of the future merge in exquisite form, like the sculpture of an artist, formed by his bare hands.

And this is where I have found my father.

This is where I have found my ‘life’ within grief and longing.

Every day or so,….I write.

At first it seemed cold and shocking, like tiptoeing the ripples of winter tides.

Was he listening? Is this all too strange and unknown and odd?

It wasn’t.

And very quickly, the temperature warmed within and it was not long before I would long for just a few minutes with my ‘Ta’, to tell him of my day.

And so this is what I share with you about creativity.

No fancy ribbons, no matching hues and textures of glamour.

Just time and space in my long ‘life letter’ to my dearest Ta.

I write about my oldest who turned 18 just yesterday.

I write how my baby has the same sparkle in his eyes and how I wish he could come over and play with him. Little Shmuel…his namesake.

I write about how when I kneed my pizza dough, I see him doing the same, when I was just a little girl.

I write about how my ankle is still not healed and how sometimes ‘hard’ is just ‘too hard’.

I write about how I love to be a mother and how the fresh winter weather reminds me of our long walks to shul, and how we would chat the whole way there and back.

I write about a memory sparked from going to the grocery store…funny how a chestnut can take you back in time about 30 years.

And then I write how badly I miss him, how I still don’t believe he has passed away.

Only I write the word ‘died’ because it holds the weight of how I feel.

And with this weight, I slowly unload.

Word for word, sentence by sentence, chapter by chapter.

And before you know it…I am speed writing.

It’s all flowing, the beauty of sharing, the comfort of ‘talking’ , the creativity of finding life in death.

It feels so good and so bad, all at the same time.

But I write. And I write and I write some more.

He is my dearest and only Ta I will ever have.

And we will continue to create.

And live, and love and laugh.

However we can, until Moshiach comes.

When all those who we love and miss will come back.

And it will feel so good.

So very good.

 

 

(In memory of my father’s 7th yartzeit, if someone special in your life has passed away, consider creating a folder on your desktop, a notebook by your bed, and write. It is so powerful, comforting, soothing and truly liberating. It is an incredible form of creativity that needs no embellishing.)

This blog and all the creativity shared on it, is in loving memory of Shmuel Tzvi ben Yosef who’s yartzeit is tonight, tes kislev.