This past Shabbat was cold and it was also sadly the end of Winter Break, so I felt we needed an extra sweet challah. I bake challah almost every week, although I tend to slack off quite a bit in the summer when it seems wrong to turn on the oven. But during these cold months, it is definitely high season for Challah.
I had been thinking about making a traditional babka based on this amazing looking recipe from the Smitten Kitchen which emphasizes the key to babka is the combination of cinnamon and chocolate (plus lots of butter). I took that inspiration and tried a challah with plenty of cinnamon, chocolate chips, and extra sugar. Otherwise I used my regular recipe and 100% whole wheat flour, so it was sweet and healthy too.
I will definitely be making this again, and I recommend it to any other bakers out there. You just might have to be careful of little hands reaching in before you have said the blessings. I don’t have recipe specifics, because when I make challah I sort of pour the ingredients into my mixer until it looks and feels right. But you can start with any basic recipe and pretty safely wander off with additions!
I wish you a sweet week and thanks for reading!
As of today, my son completed his first week of kindergarten — a full five day week complete with music, gym, walking in lines and one new “halfway friend.” No school bus yet, but we are feeling brave enough to try it soon. I feel like we have all learned so much we are ready for an early diploma.
The transition has been hardest by far on my 2 year old, who so desperately wants to go to school too. She cries watching him walk away with his class and I have had to carry her screaming to the car twice. But in just a few days, she is already changing, growing and enjoying having the toys (primarily the salad spinner) to herself.
I did not realize that she really needs some time without her brother to relax and stop trying so hard to be “big”. I am looking forward to playing with her and seeing her enjoy being herself at 2. She spent part of the day yesterday brushing her hair and staring in the mirror saying, “look, I am perfect.” Awesome!
My son is very matter of fact about school, he says he likes it but it is hard to pry much information out of him about the day. I feel a little in the dark, and will definitely need to get involved in the school to learn more. He says he has a few “half-friends”, which he defines as people he talks to. He says making real friends takes a long time. I am hoping “a long time” in his mind is another week or so.
I am exhausted from the transition, and looking forward to Shabbat and the weekend. There is challah and chocolate cake in the oven, and I hope my son will naturally share more kindergarten tidbits and news over the weekend.
Thanks to readers who have stuck around while my blog took an August break. I hope to be back to writing regularly again! Shabbat Shalom and Happy Weekend!
We are only 10 days from the first night of Passover and once again I am realizing that my house will not be cleaned to my images of Passover perfection.
I love the idea of a very deep, full house spring cleaning where any trace of chametz – both literal like cracker crumbs under car seats and figurative like the clutter that rises and puffs on surfaces and in closets—is removed. While it is a wonderful idea that your entire home could be perfectly clean in time for Passover, I never seem to pull it off.
In part it is because it is a very busy time of year when we are in the midst of spring planting on our farm and preparing for Israeli Harvest’s holiday orders. We have a small family business that aims to support Israeli farms by selling Israeli farm products in the US, including Passover treats.
My last couple of challah makings before Passover, I am much more apt to notice the dusty bits of flour that settle by the mixing bowl and slip into nearby drawers especially when little hands help mix. It makes me think it would be easier to ease into the holiday and stop baking a couple of weeks out. But that is not the tradition. When we left Egypt we had to move fast, the Pharaoh was known to change his mind. There was no easing into the journey, we just picked up and left.
So in that spirit, we do the best we can in our house which usually means a smaller cleaning and putting all breads and flour products in cartons on the screened porch, away from our daily flow. Maybe someday I will achieve something closer to the super clean perfection in my mind and find every last stray cheerio in time for the first Seder. But in the meantime, we will do the best we can and then overlook what is left unfinished, so we can move on to the important work of celebrating our freedom.
I am happy to have a guest post today on the Jewish Daily Forward’s Food Blog “The Jew and the Carrot“. The piece called the Ecology of Challah Baking grew from an earlier post on this blog and a comment from a reader.
It is exciting to appear in one of the newest online branches of one of the oldest Jewish newspapers in the US. The Forward was once read primarily in Yiddish by thousands of Jewish immigrants to America including my own great grandparents. The paper remains a strong force today and in addition to the English and Yiddish print editions now has a website with a lucky seven blogs.
If you are finding On the Lettuce Edge for the first time, please leave a comment and consider signing up as a subscriber. This blog will focus on topics ranging from parenting, farming and sewing to ecology and Jewish life. You can use the categories on the right to navigate topics or to jump to another Jewish related post on this blog click here. I am also looking for a couple of likeminded writers to join the effort because many voices are more interesting than one. If you are interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, it is not too late to enter to win a natural and organic Purim Basket from Israeli Harvest, our small business that supports farms in Israel. Please visit this post on Homeshuling and leave a comment to enter the giveaway. Thanks for visiting and please come back soon!