Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

Finally! A gf challah that has the “hamozi” bracha (i. e. bread and cereals) rather than “shehakol” (everything else). This means my celiac sons can eat what we do for Shabbat meals, and we can eat like them. This makes things easier for us, especially when we have guests. Thank you very much, Annie! 😊

Ingredients for 2 large challah and about 15 challah muffins:

3 cups gf oat flour*, sifted

1 cup teff flour, sifted

2 cups tapioca flour

4 tsps xanthan gum

22 grams (2 packages) dry yeast

Mix all together. Use a mixer with the dough hook. Do not attempt to knead by hand, batter will be very wet!

The three flours

Then add the following while mixing:

2 1/2 cups warm water

1/2 cup honey

4 eggs

2 tsps cider vinegar

Mix well. Then add:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp salt

Mix well again.

Place into two bread pans and 12 muffin pans, with a spatula or tablespoon.

Cover and let rise for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake at 170 degrees (if using Bob’s red mill flour, 165 degrees) for 20-30 minutes (muffins) or 40-60 minutes (full size). Challah is ready when a toothpick in the center comes out clean or with large crumbs.

Notes: I tried different types of oat flour, I got good results with Bob’s Red Mill and Cream Hill Estates.

Recipe can be halved.

Shabbat Shalom!

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JpegWhen my husband and I were newlyweds (well, relatively) there was a heavenly poppy seed cake in the bakery that was basically two thin layers of dough with a lot of poppy seed filling.

Then they changed the recipe and started adding all kinds of fillers to the cake – raisins mostly – and completely ruined the cake.

For Purim, the poppy seed holiday, a craving for proper poppy seed cake came over me. Not 70% dough with a few poppy seeds hiding there but a lush cake that is more poppy seed then dough. And no raisins at all!

I based the recipe on three different recipes (all in Hebrew). Here is the final version.

I wanted enough cake to use in our mishlochei manot, so I spread it out over two large pans (26 x 32 and 20 x 30 cm). This means there was less dough to go around, but I wouldn’t put more dough – it was enough as it was. The filling was enough but there can always be more 😉


400 gr ground poppy seed (make sure it’s freshly ground or grind yourself. I bought it already ground because on Purim it’s usually fresh, everyone uses it).
300 ml milk
150 gr butter
200 gr sugar (I used a mix of brown and white because I ran out in the middle, it was still great)
75 gr crumbled gluten free cookies
2 eggs

Put poppy seed, milk, butter and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil while stirring. Remove from heat, let cool a bit and then stir in the cookie crumbs and the egg. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.


150 gr butter
80 gr white sugar
1 tsp real vanilla
1 egg
300 gr Tami gluten-free flour
(original recipe also had 3 gr baking powder, forgot to put it 😳 )

In a food processor put the butter, sugar and the vanilla. Process until smooth. Add the egg, and process until smooth again. Add the flour and process only until you get large moist crumbs. Press desired amount into the bottom of the baking pan (I used around 2/3. If I make one pan I’ll freeze half). Refrigerate the rest (not critical but can help afterwords so the dough is less sticky). Dough was sticky but I didn’t add more flour as gluten free dough tends to be more sticky then gluten dough, and if you add enough flour the dough becomes crumbly. Dough was still crumbly to my taste, maybe the forgotten baking powder had something to do with it? Or simply use less flour next time (and it will be even more sticky 🙄 )


Preheat oven to 170°C. Spread the poppy seed filling in an even layer on the dough base. Grate the remaining dough on top of the poppy seed. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top and filling is firm.

While we did manage to put some in the mishloach manot, I kept taking “just one more piece” until it was finished 😉

Bon Apetit!

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Keep calm and eat latkes!

The perfect quote for Hanukkah 🙂 and this time with our very own (well, sort of) oven baked potato latkes recipe – there’s only one day left in Hanukkah, so you have to make it TODAY!

Oven baked latkes  based on Chia’s excellent recipe

1 Kg potatoes, shredded in the food processor
1 onion, shredded
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
3 dashes pepper
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp baking powder
oil spray or about 1/4 cup oil and an egg brush

Preheat oven to 200°C. Mix everything together. Drain excess water (a bit, no need to work hard over this).


See? Not very drained.

Spray baking paper (or brush with oil). Put in tbsp on the baking paper, flattening down as much as possible. Spray more oil (or brush oil) on top of the latkes. Bake for 10 minutes, turn them over and bake for 5 minutes more. Eat!



If you have cooked potatoes you can add them to the latkes, it will turn out great. You can also add carrots, zucchini or sweet potato in place of regular potatoes.

Gluten free breadcrumbs

As I have tried making gluten free bread, if the taste is good but the texture is bad I process it until I get gluten free breadcrumbs. If the taste is bad, there is nothing to be done…

Have a great week!

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Investigator officially requested gluten free kneidel. I tried once before last Passover, using a gnocchi-type recipe, and it was a dismal failure. I haven’t tried since. However, after watching his big sad eyes as the rest of us feasted on kneidel I took the challenge and decided I would continue trying until I found something worth eating. And so… voila!

Ingredients: based on this recipe

1 1/2 cups rice (I use Persian rice)
3 1/4 cups water
3 tsp gluten free chicken soup powder (I originally put 1, too bland*)
1 1/4 cups gluten free Tami flour
1/2 cup water
Oil for frying
Pinch turmeric powder

Cook the rice, 3 1/4 cups water and chicken soup powder until water is absorbed. While still hot, mash into a puree. Add the Tami flour and 1/2 cup water. Mix well. Let cool.


Using wet hands make round balls and flatten them. Pour oil into a pan so that it’s 1/2 cm-1 cm deep. Add the pinch of turmeric and mix (for the color). Heat until hot (test this by dropping a drop of water into it, the oil should sizzle). Fry until golden,


then flip over until golden on other side as well.


Put on absorbent paper to absorb any excess oil.


This is good fresh, it has a great crunch, or heated on the Shabbat hot plate and added to soup at the last minute.

Note: I tried to boil this like traditional kneidel, in chicken broth. Using an actual chicken, some gluten free chicken soup powder and a pinch of turmeric caused the water to turn red 😮

Red !?!

Red !?!

Which I should have seen as a sign of impending doom 😉 It looked good but tasted exactly like overcooked rice 😦

Looks can be deceiving.

Looks can be deceiving.

Bon apetit!

* The recipe uses the rice paste as a dough to stuff meat in, so it doesn’t have much taste. That’s what the chicken soup powder is for. I’ll also note that this is the first time I’m using chicken soup powder for the past 8 years. But for my son, anything 🙂

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Success in t’shuva is not measured by the final score at the end of the game. It is measured by the playing. The striving for good is goodness itself. The striving for perfection is what perfects, in and of itself“-Harav Kook, from “The Art of T’shuva – The Teachings of HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook: Commentary” by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman

This speaks to two strong beliefs of mine – getting better is a process, and the process itself is also important. This is true for everything important in life – being a mother, being a daughter, being a wife, being a friend. It is not the end that is important – it is all the time and effort put into it.

May we all have a sweet, fruitful, illuminating and perfecting new year. Shana tova umetuka!

Dip your apple in the honey...It's Rosh Hashana!

Dip your apple in the honey…It’s Rosh Hashana!

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I’m on vacation for 3 wonderful weeks. Ohhh, the joy…


Have a great summer, everyone!

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This put a smile on my face the whole day 🙂 The new Maccabeats Hanukkah song is based on “All about that bass”, and is hilarious! This year Maccabeats teamed up with Mayim Bialik to raise $10,000 for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Kol Hakavod and good luck! I added also my other favorite Maccabeats Hanukkah songs, and One Day too because it’s just awesome. And yes, all a capella, even the beatbox “drums”. Enjoy!


“All About that Neis” – for the smile

“Burn” – for the hope

Candlelight (their first viral song) – for the nostalgia

And One Day, because it’s so true, and gives me hope even when I’m down.


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I spent most of the day banging my head against the wall of bureaucracy. Circumstances dictated that I find a child neurologist ASAP to look at my son. Apparently, this is impossible. The best I got was a polite secretary who said that I could fax them a request and they would get back to me within 10 business days. I almost told her just as politely to *** off,  but I heroically restrained myself. It wasn’t her fault, after all.
Before the holiday, I checked with a local bakery that stocks gluten-free cakes and bread, and they promised they would have gluten-free sufganiot (Hanukkah donuts). I was really looking forward to the comfort food along with a family candle lighting.
They didn’t have them.
So I soothed myself with baking. I can’t get an appointment in the next decade, but at least the house smells good and we eat awesome sufganiot 🙂 And my eldest dazzled us by giving a guitar concert of Hanukkah songs (he already knows two chords!) and we sat and sang together and relaxed.
A most excellent end to a bad day.

Gluten-free baked sufganiot *
Based on this recipe.

300 gr gluten-free Tagmish flour.
2 tsp dry yeast
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
50 gr softened butter
1 egg
150 ml milk
50 ml water

Mix dry ingredients together. Then add liquids. Process in a mixer fitted with dough hooks until you get a ball of dough that is just a bit too sticky. DON’T add flour. Oil the dough and let rest until doubled in volume (it took me ~3 hours). Split into 20 small balls,  about 30 gr each.  Now dough should be easy to work with. Flatten each ball.  Place 1/2 tsp filling of choice (I used jam in some and Nutella in the rest) in center and close around the filling, shaping it into a ball again. Place in lined baking tray, seam side down.


After rising a few minutes

Cover and let rise for about half an hour. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 160 °C or until golden.


Sprinkle icing sugar on top and serve.


Not much left...

Happy Hanukkah!

* Obviously , these don’t taste like real sufganiot. But they still taste really good!

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Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of AweEvery year I try to read something meaningful in preparation for the days of awe. In addition, I try to join at least one lesson live in WebYeshiva (My personal favorite teacher is Rabbi Yehoshua Geller, check him out!). This year I found myself on Rosh Hashana without anything new to read. So I thought I’d reread Rabbi Soloveitchik’s On Repentance, which is an excellent book, if a bit long to manage in 10 days. But then I found this gem that I bought last book week and forgot about: Erica Brown’s Return: Daily inspiration for the days of awe (in English, even though it’s at the Hebrew book week 🙂 ). This is divided into 10 chapters, one for each of the Days of Awe, so excellent for starting late (yet better late than never 😉 ). It’s thought-provoking, yet each chapter is short enough to read in half an hour. In addition, each chapter has “life homework” with concrete things you can do or decide to make you a better person this year. Each chapter also has some additional study material from the sages with some questions for your own personal study.

I found this book absolutely amazing. It showed me different ways of looking over the past year, and helped me enormously in my own private introspection and resolutions. It brings ideas from the bible, modern psychology, modern literature, and day-to-day life. It never talks down to you, yet is very scholarly. It brought me closer to Judaism and closer to true repentance. I’m going to read this during the year to refresh myself on what is really important; and I recommended to all people who are interested in looking over their lives, Jewish or not, during the Days of Awe or not. It captured, in 10 chapters (+ prologue and epilogue) the struggle we are all going through, our hope and fear of changing, and our imagination. I’ll be looking for more books by Erica Brown. 5 stars.

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On Rosh Hashana Eve, I wish you and your family a year of sweetness, laughter, joy, fullfilment, personal growth, nachas, and good tidings.

And to help you on your way, here are some videos:

The Maccabeats, excellent as usual, with tradition and laughter:

Sia, for those moments when you need a helping hand. We all have them sometimes.

And Shimon Peres knows how to laugh – and to get the message across. May his vision come true and we will know true long lasting peace, Amen.

Shana Tova Umetuka!

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