Watermelon Cake

Photography by Dan Engongora

 This fruit “cake,” like the ones my mother always made for special occasions, will allow you to have your cake and eat it too!

Supplies:

  • 1 whole watermelon,oval shaped
  • 2-3 kiwis
  • 1 mango
  • blueberries
  • cantaloupe
  • green grapes, halved
  • toothpicks
  • flower-shaped cookie cutter (optional)

Directions:

When choosing your watermelon, try to pick one that is oval-shaped.

  1. Cut off both ends of the watermelon, leaving a six-inch wide slice to form the base of your “cake”.
  2. Lay flat and remove the rind with a sharp knife while trying to keep the watermelon as round as possible.For best results when removing rind, leave a thin layer of white flesh, and then remove the white layer while rounding out a perfect circle.
  3. Place on large platter.
  4. Peel and slice kiwi and arrange slices on the top of the watermelon at the outer edge, slightly overlapping.
  5. Cut one side off of a mango and thinly slice lengthwise.
  6. Peel and arrange in center of cake in a pinwheel fashion.
  7. For a finished look, place a few blueberries in the middle to cover mango tips.
  8. Break toothpicks into halves and use to attach blueberries along the top and bottom edges of the cake.
  9. To decorate the sides of the cake, use flower-shaped cookie cutters to cut flowers out of cantaloupe slices.For best results, stand cantaloupe upright and cut thin slices from its side.  Attach flowers and green grape halves with toothpicks.

To serve, slice as your would any round cake.

This article by EstherO. originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.

 

 

Wacky Wig Heads

This project is sure to make “heads” turn! A fun and easy activity for a long summer afternoon, this craft is perfect for an original gift, or the “ever important” wig head in the guest room. Additionally, make one for yourself, and you’ll never have to check twice again if it’s yours, by your future wig appointments.

 

Crystalize It

Personalize It – Crystallize it!

With rhinestone monograms so readily available you can turn many  household  items  from being  ordinary to extraordinary. Enhance bath and hand towels, cloth napkins, aprons, oven mitts… with these simple  to use “Crystalique” iron on transfers. Do it yourself and present your hostess with the most magnificent basket of monogrammed  fingertip towels. Their elegant and easy and so affordable- you’ll want to treat yourself too!!!.

 

Supplies

“Crystalique” iron-on transfers made by Etched in stone.

Towels, cloth napkins, aprons, oven mitts, etc(Available at Target,Wal-mart,Marshalls,TJ Max…. . The oven mitts are from Dollar Tree)

Iron

 

Directions

1. Preheat iron to the hottest setting (No steam)

2. Place fabric item on a flat, firm surface

3. Remove white backing from iron-on transfer

4. Place transfer face side up on the fabric

5. Press firmly, without moving, directly on to the clear film for 12-15 seconds

6. Let cool to room to room temperature and gently peel off plastic

7. If there are stones that have not bonded to the fabric, repeat steps 5 & 6

8. Press again directly on top of the stones for 10 seconds

 

Frequently asked question-

Do the stones stay on, do they fall off while  washing or drying?

Personally,I have never had a problem with the Crystalique iron on transfers.If you follow directions they should stay on beautifully wash after wash

 

 

 

Invitation Cookies

You may color coordinate these ideas for your sweet tables – the cookies make great party favors as well.

Supplies

  • Sugar cookie dough
  • Rolled fondant
  • Square fluted cookie cutter(I used 2 ½)
  • Straight edge  square cookie cutter(I used 2 ¼”)
  • Acetate paper (available at copy center)
  • Invitation, monogram, name, message (i.e. It’s a Girl!)
  • 3/8”Coordinating ribbons(about 12” per cookie)-optional
  • Plastic straw-optional
  • Small cellophane bags -optional

Directions

  1. Reduce invitation, monogram, etc ( I reduced to 2 ¼”)
  2. Copy onto acetate paper (you should be able to fit approx  12 per page)
  3. Roll out cookie dough
  4. Using the fluted cookie cutter, cut out the dough
  5. Using a straw, cut out two holes- approximately ½” from top and 1” apart from each other
  6. Bake according to recipe directions
  7.  Roll out fondant
  8.  Using the square cookie cutter, cut out fondant( slightly smaller than the cookie)
  9. Place fondant on top of cookie (if the fondant does not stick to the cookie try dabbing a drop of water on the fondant)
  10. Turn fondant covered cookie upside down. Push  a plastic straw through the cookie holes and into the fondant  thereby creating holes in the fondant as well.
  11.  Place your cut out invitation, monogram… onto the fondant.
  12.  Use a pen to mark off holes.                     
  13.  Use a hole puncher to cut out holes.
  14.  Once again place your invitation,monogram… over your fondant.
  15.  Push ribbon through holes( starting from the back of the cookie)You may use a toothpick to help push the ribbon through the holes.
  16. Form a bow.

If you are planning to use the cookies as party favors –skip all steps that involve making holes in cookies.Acetate paper will stick to cookies with a dab of water.For a finishing touch-wrap cookies in cellophane bags and ribbons.

Please note: Acetate paper is not edible it is for decoration purposes only.

*For more party ideas check out invitation-jello-cups

 

 

Cabbage Mango Salad

Photography by Dan Engongora

Salad Ingredients :

  • 1 bag green cabbage
  • 1 mango diced
  • 1 bunch scallions-chopped
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 T  sugar or xylitol
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix dressing together and pour over the salad.

This article by EstherO. originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.

 

 

Checkerboard and Pinwheel Cookies

Photography by Dan Engongora

Two Tone Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate finely chopped

 

Directions for mixing dough:

1) In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt

2) Beat butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add eggs one at a time. Beating after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Add flour and beat on low until combined.

3) Divide dough in half. Return other half to mixer. Melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Add melted chocolate to dough in mixer and beat just until combined

 Spiral cookies

1) Divide vanilla dough into three pieces. Place each piece on a large piece of saran wrap. Pat it into a ½” thick square and then wrap it in the plastic. Repeat the process for the chocolate dough. Refrigerate all 6 pieces until firm (about 1 hour)

2) Unwrap 1 piece of the vanilla dough, leaving it on the plastic. Cover it with a 2nd piece of plastic wrap, then roll it into a rectangle measuring about 9”X9-1/2”. If the dough gets too soft or difficult to roll, slide it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it until it’s firm again (5-10 minutes). Unwrap a piece of the chocolate dough, cover it with another piece of plastic and roll it into a 9”X9” square.

3) Remove the top piece of plastic wrap from both rolled dough’s and invert the chocolate dough on top of the vanilla dough, lining up 3 sides and leaving about ½” of vanilla dough exposed on one side. Starting at the opposite side lift the vanilla dough by the plastic wrap underneath it and snugly roll up both layers into a log, peeling away the plastic wrap as you go. Wrap the log in the plastic and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. Repeat the process with the  other pieces of dough.

4) Heat the oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap 1 of the logs and slice it into ¼”-thick rounds. Arrange the slices on the parchment about 1- 1/2” apart and bake them for 11-12 minutes. When done they’ll be a little soft to the touch-the cookies will have a better texture if you don’t let their edges brown.

5) Leave the cookies on the sheet for 1 minute, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Slice and bake the other logs as the first

Yields 3 dozen cookies

Checkerboard/Striped Cookies

(Checkerboard cookies are in essence the striped cookies with two additional steps.

1) Divide vanilla dough into ½”. Place each piece on a large piece of saran wrap- pat into ½” thick square and then wrap it in the plastic wrap. Repeat the process for the chocolate dough. Refrigerate all four pieces until firm (about 1 hour).

2) Unwrap 1 piece of the chilled dough, leaving it on the plastic. Cover it with a 2nd piece of plastic wrap, then roll it into a rectangle measuring about 7” wide X 8” long. If the dough is too soft and difficult to roll, slide it onto a baking sheet and refrigerate it until it is firm again (5-10 minutes). Unwrap a piece of the chocolate dough, cover it with another piece of plastic, and roll it into a 7” wide X 8” rectangle.

Remove the top piece of plastic wrap from both rolled dough and invert the chocolate on top of the vanilla dough.

For Stripe Design

Proceed with steps a,b, and c  (omitting steps d and e).

 For Checkerboard

Begin with steps a-e, omitting step c

a)  Cut in half lengthwise into two strips. Brush one strip with the egg white and put the other on top.

B) Continue cutting and stacking the strips until there are eight layers of chocolate and vanilla dough.

c) Trim the end, wrap the log in plastic and neaten its shape with the flat of your hand. Chill for about two hours. Slice into squares ¼” thick and bake as in spiral cookie directions (steps4 & 5).

d) Using a small sharp knife, slice the layered dough lengthwise into four to five strips. If the dough becomes warm, chill for 10 minutes before continuing.

e) Brush one strip with egg white. Place the next strip on top, so a vanilla strip appears on top of a chocolate one, giving a checkerboard effect. Repeat until all the strips are used. Trim the ends, wrap the log in plastic, and neaten its shape with the flat of your hand. Chill for about 1 hour. Slice into squares ¼” thick and bake as in spiral cookie directions(steps 4and 5).

Marble cookies:

Use all scraps of dough and roll into logs. Refrigerate for two hours. Unwrap log and cut into a ¼” rounds and bake as in spiral cookie directions (steps 4 & 5).

This article by EstherO. originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.

Cinnamon Buns

Photography by Dan Engongoro

Fresh, hot, fluffy, with a mouth watering coffee glaze or cream cheese topping….. need I write more? These cinnamon buns are simply irresistible.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 5 ¾ cup flour
  • 4  ½ tsp dry yeast
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½  tsp salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup margarine or ¼ cup oil -for a healthier version
  • 2 eggs

FILLING:

  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP cinnamon
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 scoops vanilla sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine 2 cups flour,yeast,sugar and salt in the bowl of your mixer.
  2.  Heat  milk, water   and margarine(or oil) in saucepan over medium heat or in microwave until warm 120-130 .
  3. Add to flour mixture.Add eggs and remaining  flour  and knead until smooth.
  4. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375
  6. Prepare filling-combine all ingredients
  7. Punch down the dough and divide into 3 parts.
  8. On lightly floured surface,roll out each piece to a 9×13” rectangle.
  9. Spread the filling on the dough.Starting with the 12” side,roll up tightly.
  10. Cut into 9 slices.Place in 8” square pan.
  11. Cover buns and let rise another half hour.

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Please note: you will find that this dough is quite sticky. It will become less sticky as it rises. You can add more flour to make the dough less sticky if needed. However, the less flour you add, the fluffier the cinnamon buns will be.

Prepare the glaze or the frosting while the buns are baking.

Coffee Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 TBSP margarine melted
  • 1 tsp pancake syrup
  •  ¼ tsp coffee granules diluted in  3-4 TBSP hot water

Place all ingredients in medium bowl. Mix  well and drizzlel over warm buns.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 6 oz cream cheese,softened
  • ½ cup margarine,softened
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt

Place all ingredients in mixing bowl. Beat till well combined .Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

This article by EstherO. originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.

 

Carb Free Mini Vegetable Quiche

Photography by Dan Engongora

These “glorified” omelets are a tasty alternative to the standard cheese omelet. There’s a little more preparation involved, but they are baked all at once in the oven as opposed to frying individually in the frying pan.

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup grated mozerella cheese
  • Salt,pepper to taste

Place the eggs in a medium size bowl. Beat well.Add cheese,salt and pepper

For Broccoli quiche :

  •   2 medium size onions -diced
  • 1 ½  cups chopped frozen broccoli-defrosted

Directions :

  1. Saute onions in oil until golden brown.
  2. Add onions and broccoli to egg mixture

For  Red Pepper quiche:

  • 2 medium size  onions -diced
  • 2 red peppers-diced

Directions:

  1. Saute onions in oil until golden brown.
  2.  Add peppers and continue cooking over medium heat another 5 minutes.
  3. Add onions and peppers to egg mixture

For mushroom quiche:

  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 1 /2 lb fresh mushrooms  or 1 large can

Directions:

  1. Saute onions in oil until golden brown.
  2. Add mushrooms and continue cooking over medium heat another 5 minutes.
  3. Add onions and mushrooms to egg mixture

Pour mixture into greased  muffin pans -3/4 way full  .

Bake at 350 for 3o minutes .

This article by EstherO. originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.

Grilled Vegetables

Photography by Dan Engongora

Ingredients:

  • 2 zuchini, cut diagonally
  • 2 yellow squash, cut diagonally
  • 2 red peppers, cut in eighths
  • 2 yellow peppers, cut in eighths
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 10 oz (280 g) mushrooms

Marinade

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp xylitol (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine marinade ingredients.
  2. Coat the vegetables. Marinate 2–4 hours.
  3. Place all vegetables onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 450°F (220°C) fo 30 minutes.

This article by EstherO. originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.