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Cook Something Fabulous for Mom

This Mother’s Day, give Mom something really special: some of your home cooking. I’m not talking about a 5 course meal, although that is certainly fine. I’m thinking about 1 very special “something”
that will bring smiles and tears of happiness to her eyes.

Here are 3 delicious ideas, recipes included. Naturally, you’ll have to select your “project” based on Mom’s locale and whether you can cook “in person” or need to send your gift:
1) Apple Cake: I have baked this recipe about 5 times in the last few months. It is always outstanding and my family and I love it. Ships easily.
Challah French Toast2) Challah French Toast and Cottage Cheese Pancakes are both outstanding brunch dishes. Just add coffee, orange juice and fresh fruit and you have terrific meal!
3) Tomato and Onion Tart is a savory dish that can be served for brunch or lunch. Pair it with a salad, glass of white white and you’re done!

This Mother’s Day, I will be in Pennsylvania at my son’s college graduation–a terrific Mother’s Day. But the weekend after, we will be celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom and Mother-in-law. I will definitely be cooking for that!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Hats Off to Frieda

Do you know who is the visionary that brought exotic fruits to your supermarket shelves? Honestly, I had never thought about it, until today. Freida Caplan, who is 88 years old, started her business, Frieda’s Specialty Product,  50 years ago. The first female business owner at the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, she made her mark for her interest in unusual fruits and veggies. Freida is most known for bringing Kiwifruit to the US but spaghetti squash and Asian pears are also tied to her legacy. I thank Frieda for her out-of-the box thinking as well as confidence that these products would appeal to us. Indeed they do!

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Charoset 2012 Recipe Scramble

Passover Begins April 6–Get Your Culinary Juices Flowing

When it comes to making the Passover Seder Plate, most of us take a task oriented approach: Roasted Egg? Check, Horseradish? Check. Shank bone? Check. You get what I mean: it’s one of the seder tables’ most important items but making it is all about following the list of ingredients rather then how each looks or taste. Actually, the seder plate does have an opportunity for culinary creativity: CHAROSET*.

Announcing Our Newest Recipe Scramble:  Charoset 2012

Here’s how it works: Following are 5 categories of ingredients: fruits, spices, nuts and seeds, liquids and “glue.” To enter our recipe scramble, select a minimum of 4 ingredients from any of the categories, to create a charoset that you would enjoy. Don’t see an ingredient you want? Add it!

 There are only 2 requirements to follow: 1) that it have a mortar-like consistency and 2) that it be tasty enough to be enjoyed. Sweet or savory are ok.

Fruits

(fresh or dried)

Spices Nuts & Seeds Liquids “Glue”
Dates Cinnamon Almonds Red Wine Almond butter
Apricots Curry Power Walnuts Grape Juice Cashew Butter
Raisins Ginger Sesame Seeds Soy Milk Mashed egg yolk
Apples Tumeric Roasted Edamame Almond Milk Matzo Meal
Pears Cardomom Pomegranate Juice Avocado
Prunes Cumin Lemon Juice
Figs Coriander Lime Juice
Bananas Fresh Orange Juice with Pulp
Fresh Ginger
Cranberry
Mango

RULES: By March 27, post your charoset recipe in the comments section of our blog or email it to Jane Moritz, Challah Connection Owner along any other interesting facts related to your recipe. If emailing, include subject line: “Charoset 2012.” Recipes will be judged based on creativity, originality and ease of use. Winners will be announced on March 29. If you are a winner, we will email to notify you and at that time get your name and shipping address so we can send your prize.

PRIZES: First prize wins our fabulous Passover Fruit Basket (value $89.99) Second and Third prize wins a family gift box of 8 parve dark chocolate kosher for Passover bars from Matzel Toff! (Value $31) Prizes will be shipped to you or a recipient that you choose (US shipping only)!

CHAROSET 2012 sponsored by CHALLAH CONNECTION and our friends at MATZEL TOFF!

*What is Charoset? It’s typically a combination of chopped apples, walnuts and red wine that signifies the mortar to make bricks used by enslaved Jews in Egypt. It is one of the symbolic foods that we eat at Passover to remind us that we were once slaves but are now free.

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Purim, Hamentashen and College Kids

You don’t have to be Jewish to love Purim.

That goes for everyone of course, but most certainly college kids. Purim is about celebrating and partying and who does that better then college kids? (not that I am altogether thrilled with their abilities in this area)

As a mom of 3, 2 of whom are in college, I can attest to their love of having fun and here’s my point: hamentashen, challah, babka and black and white cookies are part of the fun!

Let’s just take my older son Sam (#2 Harry is an art student and seems to have far more limited time for partying-ok by me). Sam is a senior at a small liberal arts college where there are not too many Jewish kids. He was also the President of his fraternity. These 2 distinctions are what has taught me what I know–that everyone–Catholic, Buddist, Protestant, Atheist–loves our favorite “Jewish” baked goods. Over the last 4 years, I have sent enough challah and babka to fill all of the frat houses on campus and I am pleased to say that over the years I have received so many thank you emails and seen many posts on Sam’s facebook page like–“need challah”, or “where’s the hamentashen bro” “get your ma to send some brisket.” Of course I am kvelling. Fedex and I have singlehandedly introduced these yummies to people who had never had them and now they are clamoring for more.

As the good mom that I try to be, with admittedly easier access to the goods then most of you, yesterday I packed up good sized Purim gifts for both my boys. They’ll be getting all the favorites–challah, babka, hamentashen and Purim blowers. And of course there is plenty to share with their friends. Can’t wait to see the posts and tweets!

So if you want to wow your child and his or her friends, come to challahconnection.com and shop away. Purim is on March 8, but there is still time to order for on time delivery. You can put together your own Purim Gift or choose one of these shown here (my personal favorites). Happy Purim!!

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Purim is Next Week!

Now that President’s Week school break and the Oscars is over, it’s time to face reality: Purim is next week, Wednesday to be exact. We know so many of you love sending Purim gifts and shalach manot to friends and family, but it’s time to wake up and smell the sweet smell of fresh baked hamentashen: Purim is a little more then a week away. What does this mean?

It’s time to go to challahconnection.com and shop for the finest Purim gifts available anywhere. Our hamentashen (the triangle shaped cookie that we eat on Purim) is fresh-baked-delicious and comes in five flavors: raspberry, apricot, poppyseed, prune and chocolate. While our Purim gifts are outstanding, so is our customer service. As so many of you know, we go way out of our way to make sure that your gifts arrive in perfect condition and on time (It’s a sad state of the world that our customers are happily shocked when we call or email to tell them that we changed their shipping method to save them money or that the shipping method they chose is not going to deliver the package on their specified date. We are constantly amazed that so many companies DON’T do this–shame on them!!).

Salespitch over–Please get your Purim shopping done–while we still have stock of everything on our website!!

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Valentine’s Day: What Makes This Day Different From Any Other?

With 23 happy years of marriage under my belt and 21.5 of them as a mother of 3 beautiful sons, one of my goals is to shine my love on them everyday, as many times a day as possible. Naturally, given my humanness, I am not always successful and my own needs sometimes get in the way. But I do try. So, when Valentine’s Day comes around I usually invoke the old Passover idea: What makes this day different then any other? Honestly, not that much. But now that 2 of my sons are away at school, Valentine’s Day for me is largely an occasion to send them some love and we all know that the mailable version of love is FOOD. So, if you are like me and you need to send some love to those who are away, the 2 gifts shown here; the SweetHeart Valentine Tin (above) and the outrageously yummy Brownie Gift Box (left) are 2  of my favorite delicious choices. While we do have a Valentine’s Gift department that has more Valentine-specific items, just go to challahconnection.com–our entire site is filled with “Mailable Love.”

Love and kisses,

jane

P.S. To see all of our delicious food gifts, click here!

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Vote Here!

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2011 A Kinder Holiday Season

This holiday season is going to be a remarkable and beautiful one. Simply by the fall of the calendar, people of many faiths will be sharing their holiday traditions—together.

As a Jew, I often feel isolated and left out when so many people around me are celebrating Christmas. Conversely, I know that my Christian friends often feel the same when we are frying up the latkes and lighting the menorah. This year, it will all be different.

This year, Hanukkah spans an 8 day period during which Christmas falls. Even better, Christmas Eve is on Saturday night—party night–and naturally, Christmas day follows on Sunday.

So, what makes this holiday season 2011 different from other holiday seasons?

We will all be celebrating together, on the same day, which is beautiful and remarkable because we will:
-Connect
-Share
-Love
-Build

For those of you who celebrate both holidays—and I know there are many—this year promises to have less stress and more joy. No need to have 2 celebrations, but rather one, joyous, peaceful one.

What to Bring to a Holiday Celebration
Going to a party where both Hanukkah and Christmas are being celebrated? This is a perfect opportunity to share Hanukkah traditions while also acknowledging Christmas traditions. Potato Latkes, Blue and White Cookies, a Hanukkah gift Basket–all lovely choices for sharing.

I wish you the warmest of holidays seasons. Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas!

Jane Moritz
Owner, Challah Connection

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Kosher Gifts and More for Hanukkah and Holidays

Here at Challah Connection, we are always developing new kosher gifts for you to share with friends and family. To that end, we travel to many national food shows and gourmet food shops in Manhattan, Brooklyn and our local CT neighborhood–wherever we know fabulous foods exist that can be paired into fabulous kosher gift baskets.

In time for your holiday gift giving, I am pleased to announce terrific new kosher gifts for Hanukkah and Christmas as well as some gorgeous new Judaica (menorahs and dreidels) that we have sourced for Hanukkah. All of these new gifts make terrific Hanukkah gifts and Holiday gift baskets.

One of my favorite new kosher gifts, NYC Food Tour Tower, is a collection of NYC iconic foods such as Dr. Brown’s soda, black and white cookies and more, assembled in sturdy “keeper” boxes that display a dramatic photo montage of NYC and Brooklyn’s top spots.


Another great new gift is our Happy Chanukah Chocolate Gift Box, so happy-looking and delicious.Our new Blissful Brownie Gift Box is great for large volume corporate gift giving or as a gift to Aunt Sue. As for Jewish and Judaica gifts, we have some gorgeous new menorahs, dreidels and decorations from Emily Rosenfeld, Gary Rosenthal, Tamara Baskin as well as a beautiful new ornament.
Shopping for a baseball fan? There are alot of you out there. I know that I will be giving my Yankee-fan-son “Jeter’s 3000 Hit Baseball.” For my nephew, who just moved into his first post-college apartment, what could be better than “Ballparks of the MLB,” a framed piece that includes real dirt from every MLB ballpark? Pretty exciting!

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to peruse our new and “old favorite” holiday gifts. As I hope you realize, we work very hard to find the finest gifts for all of your gift-giving needs. If you have product suggestions, please let me know, we want to hear them!

Jane Moritz
Owner, Challah Connection

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Kvelling is a Community Activity

KVELL: Do you know the meaning of this soulful Yiddish word?

It means to gush with pride.

I hope that you have had much to kvell about recently. Something great that you did that brought happiness to someone? Or maybe one of your kids or grandkids did something kvell-worthy?

Well, we Challah “Connectors” are kvelling right along with one of our customers and his grandmother. Here’s a story for us all to kvell about. Read it and at the end, I will tell you why we should all be proud, why we should all be a community of kvellers.

Hi Jane:

I just wanted to let you know that my grandmother was the happy recipient of
a Challah and Babka this past Saturday – just in time for breaking the Yom
Kippur fast. I sent the Challah to my 95 year old (!) grandmother in
upstate New York. She is very healthy, but two weeks ago she slipped and
fell, and while she didn’t break anything, she’s had to take a break from
her normal busy schedule to rest and recover. Also, this year, since
everyone was travelling/not home, she was going to be spending the holiday
without family. I spoke with her last Friday and she said she wished she
could drive downtown and at least buy a Challah to break the fast, but she
probably wasn’t going to be up to making the trip…

Imagine her delight when the next day, a beautiful challah and cake arrived
at her door. It really cheered her up and gave her a much needed boost –
she said it was one of the best, most special gifts she’d ever gotten. I’m
very appreciative to you and your company for making this happen! As I’m
sure you already are, you can be very proud of what you’re bringing to
people! It’s not just bread, it’s also love…

Best wishes!

“It’s not just bread, it’s also love…” I am kvelling over this statement as all of you Challah Connection gift givers should too. When you send someone something as simple as a challah you are sending a tradition, a sweetness and a part of yourself–which is love. That is the true essence of gift giving. Give yourself a moment to kvell over your good deed.

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