Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Sweet - Pinning & Doughnuts!

How weird is it that I feel so productive, going through my pins and boards on Pinterest and cleaning them out?

On second thought, don't answer that...

I have a problem when it comes to pinning - I pin everything. I have boards for my "someday" home, boards of quotes that struck a chord, or made me laugh, and a board entitled "Further Reading" - how far in the future I'll actually get around to reading those 100+ articles, no one knows. There are pins for cleaning, pins for gifts and crafts I'm 99.9% sure I have neither the ability nor the concentration required to make and pins for outfits that rival the cost of my "someday" home board. But most of all I have recipe pins.

So. Many. Recipe. Pins.

I love to cook and bake - pin something that has chocolate, bread or let's be realistic is just fantastic looking and chances are I'm going to re-pin in! The last couple of weeks though, I've really set out to evaluate this pinning obsession. Don't get me wrong, I don't sit at my computer or on my phone for endless hours pinning - I get on once or twice a week, between work and home and the million other things going on. But like laundry and dishes, they add up (albeit it, are much more fun!).

Now this brings me back to my recent "productive" cleaning out sessions. I've gone through recipes removing ones I've made that just didn't work out and even better, discovering things I've pinned months to a year ago that I never got around to making that I suddenly HAD to. Like 8am standing in the kitchen on a Friday, have to make. 

And that's where this recipe comes in. With Chanukah a couple of weeks away, there's no shortage of doughnut recipes floating around - and you won't find me complaining! Doughnuts are our favorite. M will surprise me with one from time to time, they're our go to Shabbos treat, they're at the center of all of our celebrations and the ideal remedy for a pick me up! Who can forget my Birthday Bakery Hopping day, where the only rule was that if the bakery had doughnuts that was the first purchase!

These were incredibly easy to make, took me less than 40 minutes. start to finish and were picture perfect! M loved them and I couldn't pass them on the table without grabbing one...or two. I can't believe I pinned them over a year ago and never got around to actually making them!

I absolutely love, Jessica over at How Sweet Eats. I visit her blog all the time and leave with not only fantastic recipes but also laughing hysterically. She's awesome. And she makes awesome doughnuts (and pulled chicken sandwiches, and soups...). You can find this particular recipe over at How Sweet Eats 

I found them a little cakey, but definitely better than the kosher "doughnut hole" variety I've had the past couple of years. The glaze was perfect (I substituted soy milk in both the glaze and actual recipe other than buttermilk to keep it pareve, and honestly early on Friday morning I just wanted doughnuts, not a science experiment to make a buttermilk pareve replacement, but that's just me). Also, since I had already made a batch of cookies for Shabbos, I halved this recipe and it was more than enough for 2 people. Using a tablespoon measurement to scoop out dough, I had about 20 doughnut holes! Lastly, I actually used a thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil and make sure it was at 350 before starting. Hate to admit it, but usually I wing it - definitely not when it comes to doughnuts though! I was happy I did and they only needed about 2 minutes in the pot (timed with a timer to avoid the charred eggplant episode from a couple of weeks ago...), turning once with a slotted spoon before they were done. I let them cool for about 15 minutes then all food blogger like, placed them on my cooling rack and started the glazing process! I used a fork and spoon to roll each doughnut hole around in a bowl of glaze and them placed them on the cooling rack- super fancy, eh? I found this provided the highest glaze to doughnut ratio and completely covered the entire surface! 

These are super easy, delicious and barely take any time (to make and eat!). The perfect addition to a Chanukah menu that's already stressed!


Just in case the above link doesn't work here you go:

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Shabbos Menu #3

As I was searching the apartment last night for a pen – those things are almost as elusive as M’s single missing Shabbos sock that just evaporated, I found an old Shabbos list that really made me stop in my tracks. It wasn't a a grocery list or a sample menu or anything like that. It was a list of items to pack, directions and “to-do’s” before I left. You see, I spent every Shabbos for 4 years hopping from host family to host family. Everything I learned about keeping kosher came from helping these families prepare their meals Thursday nights. Everything I learned about keeping Shabbos, I learned from being a part of these families’ meals and tables. Whether it was the chaos of covering light switches, getting kids bathed and dressed or setting the table and putting the food to warm, it was this hands on practice and experience that helped to make me the itsy bitsy balebusta that I am today.

I will forever be grateful to the families who opened their doors to me. Although now when I set my table, setting one extra plate is no trouble at all, the impact that extra plate had on my life a year ago, is indescribable. Sure, it wasn't always easy packing up a bag, getting on a bus and navigating my way through new neighborhoods to meet families who I had at most only heard of, but who I was assured would be happy to have me. There were a lot of ups and downs, it took it’s toll, but the experience made me a stronger, more understanding and appreciative person. I still have to pinch myself every week, as I prepare Shabbos in my home, no gym bag or bus ride necessary.

This week I’m going back to a quiet menu for two – a Shabbos at home with my husband. Packing and schlepping replaced with setting timers, washing the last few dishes and making sure everything is ready. The power of having all those tefillahs heard for four years, reflected in my candles next to our table. To those of you packing up and calling around to finalize your plans tonight, I can’t wait until you have your own table and if you ever need to vent or need some extra courage to get on that bus, feel free to email me (victoria@itsybitsybalebusta.com). And to those of you who have the incredible privilege of celebrating Shabbos in your own homes, if you can, set an extra plate tonight.

Good Shabbos!

Shabbos Menu #3

Homemade Challah (Gatherings)


Caesar Salad

Teriyaki Salmon

Sweet & Sour Salmon


Sweet & Sour Chicken


Zucchini Bread (More Please, page 261)
This was absolutely fantastic! We really, enjoyed it. I made two loaves, one with chocolate chips and one without. Of course I loved the one with chocolate more, but even without it was fantastic (seriously!). It was a great side to tone down and compliment the flavors of the chicken as well as the previous course!

Steamed Green Beans


Chocolate Fudge Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze