It is the custom among some Jews to make a challah in the shape of a key or with an actual key baked inside it for the first shabbat after Passover. This is called a schlissel challah, literally "key" in Yiddish. The schlissel challah is supposed to be a good omen for livelihood.
Last year, the local synagogue's Sisterhood sponsored a huge community challah bake for women and girls. It was so much fun. We learned how to make challah from scratch, several braiding methods, and the spiritual meaning of the mitzvah of challah baking. Afterwards we went home and baked the bread.
Below are a series of pictures from the event:
I make my family's challah in a breadmaker on the dough cycle, then take it out and braid it. I'm not used to the manual method. It's messier but you can make more or larger loaves. It also seems more spiritual to make it by hand without a mixer or breadmaker. I may have to do it on my own more often.
Here's the recipe we used...
BTW, NONE of the fancy braiding below is done by me. I haven't been able to get the hang of it though I my tween daughter can.
The baked product. My schlissel didn't come out that pretty this time around, but it sure tasted good. Plus I had a really nice time making it.
The non-schlissel challahs came out much more attractive. That's something, right?
Believe it or not, I had a bunch of dried spices left over from the summer. I've been using the spices consistently, but I had one last batch that never quite made it to the container. Finally, I put the last batch of it in a re-used Italian seasonings jar to um, keep the Italian seasonings. Yup. I'm edgy like that. :)
As you may recall, I gave myself the challenge to greatly reduce (or even stop entirely) the receipt of plastic bags when shopping. What this means to me is that I will strive to not get more plastic bags via shopping. I'd say it's been pretty successful. While I use plastic bags, I TRY not to get new ones. Though I have ended up getting new ones now and again, it's by far the exception. Typically, I rarely buy plastic bags--zip lock, garbage bags, etc. Not that I would never buy or use a "new" zip lock bag, but I don't like single use products, especially when there are usually other options available. So I haven't purchased any one-time use plastic bags since before the challenge began.
So, I've been carrying around currently owned plastic bags with me along with at least two cloth bags. Let's face it, plastic bags are darn useful. They keep stuff together, and often prevent liquids and other messy foodstuffs to spill all over the place when travelling. I've been able to use the current storehouse of bags from my house or office. (My dh likes to add to our stockpile, I can't seem to break him of the habit. Boo hoo.)
I'll continue to strive to greatly reduce even more my personal and family plastic bag footprint.
I was in my garden this weekend planting a bunch of things. It looked like it was going to rain, but nothing came of it and the sun came back out. Okay, so I had to water the plants after all.
I hooked up two hoses so it would reach my newly seeded area and watered away. I properly soaked the whole area with the peas, raspberries, blueberries, and other plantings. Then I drenched the main garden with my new seedlings and just seeded rows. I then put away both hoses, gathered up my stuff, and began walking away. And, wouldn't you know it...it started to pour. Hard. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. :)
Yesterday was a BEA-TI-FUL day. Warm, but not too warm. Sunny, but not too sunny. Perfect!! And, how did I take advantage of such a day? I attacked my garden, AGAIN. (And, I liked it!)
I planted my new seedlings (Brussel sprouts and strawberries). Tilled and planted a new area for Alaska peas. I've never had much success on planting from seeds, but I've heard that peas are pretty easy, so I gave it a try. And, since I'm woefully short on plantings this year, I opted to plant from seed some cucumbers. Four rows of cukes. And, parsley seeds planted from a PJ Library promotion. I also made fancy signs for many of my new plants (Duct tape, Sharpie, stick). Really, the garden doesn't look that good yet. I'd like to attach some photos, but I think they'll be blah.
I also intend to plant some flowers from seeds in the community part of the garden to pretty it up.
Oh, I keep finding small pieces of garbage, fruit stickers, shards of GLASS and various other unacceptable trash in and around the garden area. The garden is in the communal backyard where lots of folks picnic, snack and play, so it's not surprising do find the errant wrapper. But, GLASS??? I know, I know, one bottle breaks an it leaves a million shards. But, yuck! It's not a lot, but enough to annoy me.