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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Nana Cecelia's Harvard Beets

Help! I Have A Fire In My KitchenThis is a new one on me. Barbara over at "Barbara's Tchatzkahs" who recently sent in the recipe Muffin Meatloaf And Potatoes a la Barbara, now gives us a recipe from the "old country" and her grandmother. Here is what she writes:

Today I was digging through more boxes from parents which I had in storage. My mother passed 7 years ago and I knew she had my some of Nana's recipes in her things somewhere. My Nana, of blessed memory, was one of the best cooks I have ever known. The oldest of 13 children and the daughter of 2 immigrants who ran from the Pogroms in Poland, she could make a gourmet meal out of a crust of bread and a carrot! Well, almost.

And I found some of them!! Many of them are for baked goods (will share later) but I found her recipe for Harvard Beets in my Nana's handwriting. While I only like beets in borscht, this was a favorite with most of the rest of my family.

Hope you can use this - I think she'd be amazed her recipes can be immortalized on the Internet now!

O.k. all this is great. But first thing is first. I had to know why they are called "Harvard" Beets, and not just plain beets. So I went over to and this is what I found.
Harvard beets are cooked beets in a sweet and sour sauce of vinegar and sugar (with spices) and sometimes with butter and/or orange juice. Supposedly created by a Harvard student (or a Yale student), there is also a story that they originated in a tavern in England named 'Harwood' and the 'Harvard' is a mispronunciation of the name.
So there ya go. The reason for Harvard in Harvard beets. And now to the recipe!

Nana Cecelia's Harvard Beets

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

  1. 2 1/2 cups of diced, cooked beets
  2. 1/2 cup vinegar
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
  5. 2 Tablespoon(s) butter
  6. salt to taste
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

Utensils You Need:
  1. Pot for Stove Top
Recipe Directions:
  1. Dice and boil beets until the are soft all the way through (test with a knife)
  2. Mix sugar, cornstarch and vinegar.
  3. Bring this to a boil and add beets.
  4. Cover and take off heat and let stand about 20 minutes.
  5. Add salt to taste and butter and return to low heat until beets are warm.
  6. Serve.

Really, is very easy. Though I am not a beet lover. You can add orange juice which is also in most of the recipes I have seen as well. My father loved borscht with sour cream. I never did get a taste for it, but every time beets are served, I am reminded of eating Sunday Morning breakfast in "Steinbergs Restaurant" which was on the east side of Broadway between 83rd and 84th street. Amazing what memories a simple food dish can conjure!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

OMG! Another Macaroni And Cheese With Mushrooms

I find it incredibly revealing to look at the statistics on the blog from time to time. Especially what people search for and what recipes they are looking for. Consistently, over the year, two different categories rate the highest. The Mac & Cheese recipes and Lemon Meringue Pie. Now, personally I do understand the desire to create a great Lemon Meringue Pie but Mac & Cheese is just so... well so easy, right?

I am not really sure how to interpret this. We are talking literally way over 10,000 (ten thousand) hits during the year on Mac & Cheese recipes! I would tend to think that simply put many people are looking for the simple, easy, and good recipes with which they can eat and feed their families without too much bother and fuss. And many of these people are simply not chefs and cooks, and want an easy way to make good food. Which is something I suspected for a very long time. But I may be reading the statistics in a way I want to see them, however, nevertheless the fact remains the Mac & Cheese recipes @ Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen are very popular with Internet searches.

So in honor of this we are going to present yet another Mac & Cheese (coupled with mushrooms) today.

Macaroni & Cheese With Mushrooms

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen


Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

Pipe Rigate
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen
  1. One bag of Pasta - (I usually use either conchiglie (shells) or pipe rigate (elbow shells) - This should be about 1/2 Kilo or 1 pound. You can of course make less or more, depending on how many people you need to feed!
  2. Grated Cheese - Once again you can use any cheese you like. I use Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. You will need around 400 grams of Mozzarella (14 ounces) and 100 grams (4 ounces) of Parmesan.
  3. Olive Oil - For the bottom of the pan that you put in the oven.
  4. Fresh Mushrooms (I really do not like the canned or bottled mushrooms - but you can use them as well!).
  5. 1 Teaspoon fresh Oregano (just a touch) or you can use the spice jar.
  6. 1 Tablespoon of Salted Butter - My sister adds this, I do not. Your choice.
  7. Pepper & Salt to taste
Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

Utensils You Need:
  1. Oven Tempered Pot or Silver Foil Pan
  2. Colander (Food Strainer)
  3. Pot To Boil Pasta
Recipe Directions:

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen
  1. First you have to get that pasta (macaroni) ready. So put it on the stove in water, (cover the macaroni and add about another 1/3 of water to the pot.
  2. Let it cook on the flame between 12-18 minutes. The Macaroni should be soft to the touch when you are done but not soggy! So this timing is really a matter of experience believe it or not, cause it should be an almost exact science!
  3. While the Macaroni is boiling on stove stop - cut up the mushrooms and get the oven pot ready by spreading a bit of olive oil on the bottom.
  4. Pre-Heat Oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  5. When the Macaroni is ready (remember soft not soggy! don't let it cook too much!) pick up the pot and pour it all in the Colander so now you get rid of the water.
  6. Now put the Macaroni into your oven ready dish.
  7. Take around 100 grams of the Mozzarella cheese and put on top.
  8. If you are going to add butter just drop it on the top
  9. Add the Oregano on top.
  10. Now mix it all together - (cheese, butter and Oregano.)
  11. Now mix in all the cut-up mushrooms. (ACK! Forgot this step! Kali found the omission!)
  12. Now take the rest of the Mozzarella and sprinkle it all around the top. Don't mix it in. This is the cheese cover.
  13. Now take the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it around the middle or around the sides, any which way you like. (See the photo above)
  14. In the end you should have a cheese top.
  15. Now cover the dish with silver foil - do NOT put that dish in the oven without it being covered! Otherwise the cheese will not melt at a rate that the Macaroni (pasta) is cooked.
  16. Now believe it or not, this depends on the temperament of your oven. When my oven is having a bad hair day it needs say 60-75 minutes. On a day when the oven is in a good mood and does not want to do some nasty stuff to me it takes 60 minutes! What you want to end up with, is a melted cheese on top and the pasta cooked evenly. I use a glass dish so I can see the macaroni next to the glass. My kids like it crusty!
  17. Now take that silver foil off, and let the dish cook for 5 minutes, so the cheese turns a nice light golden brown. Don't burn it so be careful here!
  18. Take it out - Serve or let it cool off and put in the fridge until ready to be heated up and served.
  19. By the way this is one of those special dishes that I say - go ahead and nuke a part of it when you want to heat it up real fast and you take it from the fridge. (2-3 minutes in the Microwave is usually enough!)
There ya go - another Mac & Cheese! Enjoy.

Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

I love rating my own recipes. Our insane cook Paula cannot say a thing. HAH! But this is really a two - I kid you not. Not hard, easy on the hands, concentration and kitchen. Enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts - Book Review

Decadent And Delicious Recipes Perfect For People With Diabetes

By: Jackie Mills

(***Due to layout of this review, if viewed in an RSS reader, certain sections may seem duplicated.)

Before we begin, the review of the The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts the normal disclaimer from Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen.

This book review was solicited by the publicists of the The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts and contains my personal opinion of the book. For kosher readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen - This is not a "kosher" cookbook though the majority of recipes in the The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts can be used as is, or with just a few sane and healthy substitutions, can be kept kosher. It is not that difficult to find equivalent and healthy kosher substitutes these days, especially in the United States.

Author & Book Details:

The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts is the second diabetic cookbook written by Jackie Mills, MS, RD.

The other one is Type 2 Diabetes Cookbook: Delicious Recipes for Healthier Living (Published by: American Medical Association). Of course these two books together should give the reader some idea as to where the interests of Jackie Mills lie when it comes to the kitchen.

Jackie Mills, MS, RD, is an experienced writer and food/recipe writer. She contributes to many national magazines, including Cooking Light, Family Circle, Cottage Living, and Coastal Living. She was the recipe developer for the American Medical Association's Type 2 Diabetes Cookbook and has contributed to Weight Watchers cookbooks and Christmas with Southern Living annual cookbooks. Jackie is the former food editor at Redbook magazine and worked as an associate food editor at Southern Living magazine. She lives in New York City.

The Book Itself:

Some of these recipes are absolutely INCEDIBLE! Forget the word diabetes for a moment. They really are impressive. Man, oh man, just the names of these recipes gets your stomach juices running. But the recipes themselves are truly an art as well and Jackie Mills does not disappoint!There is no doubt Jackie Mills comes with qualifications to write such a cookbook. This is though, the first time I am actually faced with the old yet very important discussion of form versus function. One gets used to and is spoiled by incredible photographs in cook books of almost every single recipe published. Indeed, it is almost a prerequisite these days in the Cookbook publishing industry. And to be honest I was at first a bit disappointed that The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts did not have such pictures, especially since it deals with the topic of desserts as they usually do make the best pictures. Instead the publishers opted for a few pictures in the middle of the book.

So as in regard to form I was somewhat surprised. But, and this is a BIG BUT, The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts has an important function, and must also be judged on whether it fulfills that function as well. Pictures will not make or break your needs of food especially if you are a diabetic, but certainly recipes will. The better the recipe the more encouraged a diabetic, or someone just interested in making sure they stay healthy, and on the lighter side of sugar, will continue using the book - and more important continue on their specialized diet.

There is one more confusing aspect of this book, and though the book itself will get high marks, as it truly does contain "Decadent And Delicious Recipes Perfect For People With Diabetes" this is an oversight which really has no excuse. There simply is no overall "Table of Contents". Though the book itself is divided into sections, and each section has its own Table of Contents of the recipes in it, the only real way to find anything is to flip to the back index and begin to look quickly. Indeed in order to discover all the yummy sections in the book, I had to flip through, page by page to mark off each section when I found it. So you will have the benefit of my work!

The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts has an important function, and must also be judged on whether it fulfills that function as well. Pictures will not make or break your needs of food especially if you are a diabetic, but certainly recipes will. The better the recipe the more encouraged a diabetic, or someone just interested in making sure they stay healthy, and on the lighter side of sugar, will continue using the book - and more important continue on their specialized diet.However, this is really an oversight of the layout artists, though it is a mistake and an important one that should have been caught before the book was published. Cookbooks require a Table of Contents at the front. Simple as all that.

Yet, and while some of the readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen may not agree, I am willing to go easy with the lack of the Table of Contents because the book's function is to produce recipes for the diabetic population, and it is published by the American Diabetes Association and all proceeds from the book go to this worthy charity. Thus, major mistakes which would get me to cringe in a recipe cookbook where the author is making all the royalties, will in this case get a mild critique and one should be willing to forgive such things in this case.

So let us get positive now. The public relations piece that came along with the book is quoted below. We tend to dismiss such things, but in this case the book deserves it and you will see why later on.
From Chocolate Souffles To Blackberry-Pecan Tarts, New Cookbook Offers Dozens Of Sumptuous Desserts That Are Low In Sugar And Fat

Whatever treat one's sweet tooth craves -- cakes, pies, cookies, puddings -- decadent desserts are often the hardest thing to give up when on a diet. Whether someone is watching calories and fat, or is living with diabetes, limiting sweets has long been the rule -- and those who seek to substitute with sugar-free, fat-free versions of their favorite desserts are often sorely disappointed. This no longer need be the case. The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts, Decadent And Delicious Recipes Perfect For People With Diabetes, by dietitian and former Redbook food editor Jackie Mills, MS, RD (American Diabetes Association, November 2007) offers dozens of delicious concoctions -- all developed to be lower in carbohydrates, calories, and fat.

From Mocha Fudge Sheet Cake to Banana Meringue Pie and from Cappuccino Crème Brûlée to Crispy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, most of the recipes in The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts use a combination of granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, or molasses along with the no-calorie sweetener sucralose (Splenda®). The limited amount of sugar makes the desserts mouth-watering and enjoyable, but with carb counts that enable them to fit into a balanced meal plan. In addition, all the choices in the new book contain less than 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving and virtually no trans fat.

Despite the drawbacks mentioned above, there is a great deal of good to say about The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts. All in all it is a cookbook well worth the effort and price, especially if you have a diabetic to feed. No one is going to believe these deserts are for diabetics anyway. So you will only gain in your reputation as an incredible cook by using these recipes. Jackie Mills certainly shows us that diabetic eating has certainly changed and can be quite enjoyable.In THE BIG BOOK OF DIABETIC DESSERTS, Mills explains precisely how sugar functions in baked goods and in frozen treats, and offers tips for indulging one's sweet tooth in healthier ways -- such as brushing molasses, real maple syrup, or honey on the tops of warm muffins, loaf breads, or cakes; sprinkling a tiny bit of ordinary confectioners' sugar on a cake or batch of muffins; and using in-season, ripe fruit to accompany desserts, especially in place of high-fat and high-sugar frostings. She also includes advice for making the most of small servings of nuts and chocolate and for using spices to add wonderful flavors and aromas to desserts.

In addition to the dozens of mouth-watering recipes, Mills offers helpful guidelines for better baking -- advising buying the proper pans (shiny-surfaced, heavy-gauge aluminum), using parchment paper, and stocking one's kitchen with pastry brushes, offset spatulas, and a cookie scoop. She also offers pointers for creating low-sugar, low-fat desserts, including tips on: how to test for doneness (the same timing and visual cues don't work with low-sugar baking as they do with traditional baking); how to work with a more delicate, low-fat pie crust; and how to store baked goods made with sugar substitutes (they stale faster).

"You can and should enjoy desserts without feeling that you're having something second rate or that tastes 'good for you,'" writes Mills. THE BIG BOOK OF DIABETIC DESSERTS offers desserts so satisfying and delicious, they are ideal for anyone craving a sugary indulgence -- whether or not they need to watch their carbohydrates, calories, and fat.
The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts is divided as follows:
  1. Great Cakes - Page 13
  2. Quick Breads - Page 49
  3. Sweetie Pies - Page 77
  4. Smart Tarts - Page 107
  5. Fruity Desserts - Page 131
  6. Custards & Puddings - Page 163
  7. Cookies & Bars - Page 189
  8. Pleasers From The Freezer - Page 213
(I included the pages because of the lack of the TOC when you buy the book!)

Each recipe has listed:
  • Calories
  • Calories from Fat
  • Total Fat
  • Saturated Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total Carbohydrate
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Sugars
  • Protein
This is obviously kind of important for diabetics but also equally important for anyone who wishes to be careful about their food intake.

Let me say this. Some of these recipes are absolutely INCEDIBLE! Forget the word diabetes for a moment. They really are impressive. Man, oh man, just the names of these recipes gets your stomach juices running. But the recipes themselves are truly an art as well and Jackie Mills does not disappoint! I have been allowed to reproduce one recipe here.


Makes 9 servings • Serving size: 1 (2 1/2 inch) square
For a lunch box, an after school treat, a bake sale, or a coffee break, this cake is a pleasing sweet for peanut butter lovers of all ages.
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  6. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  7. 1/3 cup granular no-calorie sweetener
  8. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  9. 1 large egg
  10. 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  11. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  12. 1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
In addition to the dozens of mouth-watering recipes, Mills offers helpful guidelines for better baking -- advising buying the proper pans (shiny-surfaced, heavy-gauge aluminum), using parchment paper, and stocking one's kitchen with pastry brushes, offset spatulas, and a cookie scoop. She also offers pointers for creating low-sugar, low-fat desserts, including tips on: how to test for doneness (the same timing and visual cues don't work with low-sugar baking as they do with traditional baking); how to work with a more delicate, low-fat pie crust; and how to store baked goods made with sugar substitutes (they stale faster).Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to mix well. Set aside.

Combine the peanut butter and oil in a medium bowl and beat at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the no-calorie sweetener and brown sugar. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the peanut butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on the rack.
Place the chocolate in a small resealable zip-top bag and seal. Place the bag in a saucepan of hot water. Let stand 5 minutes or until the chocolate melts. Snip a tiny corner from bag and drizzle chocolate over the cake. The cake can be covered in an airtight container and stored at room temperature up to 3 days.

Exchanges 1 1/2 Carbohydrate • 2 Fat
Calories 193, Calories from Fat 86, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 24 mg, Sodium 204 mg, Total Carbohydrate 23 g, Dietary Fiber 1 g, Sugars 11 g, Protein 5 g

Of course you have other great recipes as well.

  • Fruit Filled Layer Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
  • Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • Devil's Food Snack Cake
  • Tropical Blueberry Muffins
  • Peaches & Cream Pie
  • Cherry & Toasted Almond Pie
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart
  • Blueberry-Lemon Curd Tart
  • Fresh Berry Terrine
  • Blackberries With Lime Cream
  • Cherry Orange Cobbler
  • Chocolate Velvet Pudding
  • Cappuccino Crème Brulee
  • Raspberry Lemon Pudding Cake

These are just a few of the recipes you will find in the The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts. So despite the drawbacks mentioned above, there is a great deal of good to say about The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts. All in all it is a cookbook well worth the effort and price, especially if you have a diabetic to feed. It gets 4 stars and if there had been a Table of Contents even with the lack of pictures for every recipe, I would have sorely been tempted to give it a five star rating. No one is going to believe these deserts are for diabetics anyway. So you will only gain in your reputation as an incredible cook by using these recipes. Jackie Mills certainly shows us that diabetic eating has certainly changed and can be quite enjoyable. Couple this cookbook with some other cookbooks we reviewed here at Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, such as Tosca Reno - The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook & Holly Cleggs Trim And Terrific Diabetic Cooking, and you will have one incredible recipe repertoire and kitchen to be envied. Buy it - even if you don't have a diabetic in your house and do not cook for one. This is one great book of recipes!

The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts
Decadent And Delicious Recipes Perfect For People With Diabetes
By Jackie Mills, MS, RD
Publisher: American Diabetes Association
Publication Date: November 2007
Price: $18.95/trade paperback
ISBN: 978-1-58040-2274-3

Monday, December 17, 2007

English Toffee - Great Candy Recipe

(An old recipe from Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen with pictures now added)

Paula really surprises with this one! Candy Recipes! Wowsers!

Who doesn’t like candy? This is fairly easy and makes a great gift idea when placed in a decorative tin.

And you thought I snuck out of the kitchen!
English Toffee

You will need a candy thermometer.

  1. 2 Cups of Sugar
  2. 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  3. 1 Cup of Water
  4. 1 Cup (2 Sticks Butter)
  5. 3 Cups of Slivered Almonds (Divided)
  6. 3 - 6 Oz Packages Semi Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  1. Combine sugar, salt, water and butter. Cook to the light crack stage (285 f on candy thermometer). Stirring constantly.
  2. Add 1 cup almonds.
  3. Pour quickly on well greased cookie sheet and spread out with a metal spatula. Fast now, because it will set fast.
  4. Allow to cool for ½ hour.
  5. Melt chocolate morsels in saucepan on top of the stove or in microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate on high for 30- second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted.
  6. Spread half on top of cooled toffee.
  7. Sprinkle with 1 cup of slivered almonds and press into chocolate.
  8. Allow it to set then turn toffee over and spread with remaining chocolate and 1 cup of almonds.
  9. When completely cooled, break into pieces.

Great Idea! Candy for all and Paula said to send her all the dental bills! This is a great gift idea, and also to keep around the house.

Posted On: Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Diets, Fat And Eating

I can possibly get in a lot of trouble for this, as it appears on the web site of the International Herald Tribune. I actually read this editorial by Alex Beam in the Friday, December 14, 2007 edition of the International Herald Tribune.

However, this piece so belongs in Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen, I am just going to go for it, and hope the powers that be realize that I am posting for readers who would never have read it otherwise, with all the links and with clear note that it is from the International Herald Tribune. (Click on the title and you will be taken to the article in IHT. All pictures below were added by yours truly and not part of the original editorial.)

By Alex Beam

BOSTON: A year-end fixture from the newsmagazines is The Year in Pictures, a roundup of the past 12 months' worth of photojournalism. Playboy, I'm told, used to run a feature called The Year in Sex. Maybe they still do. So here is my annual contribution: The Year in Fat.

2007 was another banner year for misinformation, swamp remedies, idiocy, and plain outright lies about diet and weight, subjects that obsess Americans far more than the future of Iraq or the solvency of Social Security. If only Oprah could promise New Hampshire voters that they would lose seven pounds - overnight! - by voting for Barack Obama, then Mike Huckabee would have to fold up his revival tent and go home.

Where to begin?

This spring, word arrived that Victoria Beckham, the former Spice Girl now married to underperforming soccer star David Beckham, had put her husband on a "daughter diet," in the hopes that she might conceive a female child. Supposedly Ms. Beckham insisted that David cut back on dairy products, red meat and coffee, and instead chow down on steamed vegetables, salads, asparagus, avocado, peppers and fish.

Of course you laugh at the intellectual mendacity of a pseudo-diet that purports to link eating habits to your chances of conceiving. But when you are talking intellectual mendacity, don't forget the Harvard School of Public Health! Without apparent irony, two of its docs, Jorge Chavarro and the ubiquitous Walter Willett, are hawking "The Fertility Diet," which says "10 simple changes in diet and activity can have profound effects on fertility."

Here is an excerpt: "The plan described in the Fertility Diet doesn't guarantee a pregnancy." Posh Spice isn't offering any guarantees either, but at least she's not charging $25.

The Main Event of The Year in Fat was the publication of Gary Taubes's title-heavy, 600-page treatise "Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease." Let's not pretend that either of us has read this book. But one of Taubes's widely bruited, heretical conclusions is that Big Medicine has oversold the terrors of fat consumption and undersold the virtues of eating fewer carbohydrates.

But wait. Didn't the late Dr. Robert Atkins preach precisely that, only to be greeted by catcalls, howls of derision, and brickbats from the medical "establishment"? Maybe it's time to revisit the Zone Diet. The quacks are back!

Later in the year, the New York Times food writer Jane Brody dropped a bomb on all those NordicTracksters who thought they could "work off" the fourth slice of bûche de Noël. Exercise is valuable, Brody opined, but not necessarily for losing weight. You'll probably eat more to compensate for the few hundred calories you burned off, plus "If you exhaust yourself by overexercising, you may do less routine activity for the rest of the day, reducing the caloric benefit of your workout."

Hungry for a second opinion, I consulted Eileen Kennedy, dean of Tufts's Friedman School of Nutrition, who confirmed that "weight loss is unlikely to occur simply from physical activity by itself." I haven't risen from the couch since.

Where to end? In October, my colleague Judy Foreman wrote a column headlined "Let the Post-Diet Era Begin." Judy posed the question, "Is permanent, significant weight loss really possible?" Her answer, in a word: No.

Shortly after that column appeared, I received a press release from "renowned physician, author, and weight loss expert Dr. Sanford Siegal" touting his "hunger-controlling Cookie Diet." Perhaps this is worth trying. I have been self-prescribing cookie diets from Dr. Famous Amos and Nurse Fields, with equivocal results.

Next came a missive from Dr. Constantino Mendieta, a plastic surgeon who boasts of graduating "Magna Cum Laud," possibly from a medical school. Mendieta claims to be the "pioneer of 'The Triple Threat,' a buttock enhancement, waist minimizer, and lower back sculpting" procedure that requires patients to gain weight "so that [Mendieta] can harvest the fat through liposuction on the flanks, outer legs, and upper/outer buttocks." Aha. "He then adds an antibiotic, injects the fat into the trouble zones, and starts to craft the shape," a procedure deemed to be "not only efficacious, but safe as well."

It sounds extremely safe, very simple, and costs a mere $13,000. I only hope that Carl Hiaasen, author of the brilliant parody of plastic surgeons "Skin Tight," isn't reading this column. Mendieta might become even more famous than he would like.

Alex Beam's column appears regularly in The Boston Globe.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Muffin Meatloaf And Potatoes a la Barbara

As readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen know, I love meeting new people through this blog. It is often a great experience and certainly expands one's horizons. Barbara sent in these two recipes below. She is a fairly well known blogger with quite an interesting background. So let me first introduce you to Barbara (Don't call her Barb though, only Barbara or B!) through the two blogs I know she runs. (Pictures below are from Barbara's blogs.)

Her first blog is "Barbara's Tchatzkahs". Now before you go off to your dictionary trying to figure out just what a "Tchatzkah" is it is a Yiddish word that can mean many different things. However it is usually used to denote - "an inexpensive trinket or a toy". When someone saves a million little different things, you say, "What are all these Tchatzkahs for?" "It can also be spelled as "Tchotchka".) The word has other meanings as well. It can also refer at times and depending on the context to "a sexy but brainless girl" though not used in the pejorative sense. One would say "She is a cute tchotchkala".

Barbara's Tchatzkahs is a continuously and constantly updated blog on many topics. Politics (argh! yuck!), as well as thoughts, philosophies and ideas on life. Barbara is a devoted blogger without a shadow of a doubt.

Her other blog "Sanctuary For The Abused" is really critical and important. Here Barbara sticks to one subject - helping abused people get out of the deadly abusive relationship. This blog should be read by anyone who knows of anyone in an abusive relationship or is in one themselves. Barbara holds no punches in Sanctuary For The Abused nor should she. This blog is strongly recommended and important. Barbara also maintains a comprehensive list of articles, self-help sites, on-line support groups, personal stories from others, help for abuse for both men and women, and of course a comprehensive set of articles she herself as written. In other words, Barbara's blog, Sanctuary For The Abused is a one-stop must read, where you can hook up and find exactly what kind of information, service or advice you require. And Barbara is approachable so if you have any questions or comments leave them for her. She will answer you.

So it was with a lot of pleasure that I received the following from Barbara in an email:

I love your Fire in my Kitchen blog! You've given me many new ideas. I am a single mom (divorced) of twins, disabled and not the greatest cook in the world. I also don't keep kosher...

Anyway - I wanted to share my kids FAVORITE recipes. They have ORDERED me to make this once a week and it disappears! Any problems with keeping it kosher - let me know - maybe we can figure something out.
Well it was all kosher - and a good down to earth recipe. So here we go with Barbara's Tchatzkah Meal Recipe!

Muffin Meatloaf

  1. extra virgin olive oil (for muffin pans)
  2. 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  3. 1 small yellow onion
  4. 1 small green bell pepper
  5. 1 large egg, beaten
  6. 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  7. 2 tablespoons of grill seasoning (I use Montreal Streak Seasoning)
  8. 1 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite)
  9. 1/2 cup tomato salsa (I use Ketchup - works fine)
  10. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Utensils You Need:
  1. One Large Bowl
  2. One Small Bowl
  3. Optional - Food Processor
Recipe Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450º Fahrenheit
  2. Brush muffin tins (6 large or 12 medium) with olive oil
  3. Put ground beef into a large bowl.
  4. Cut up onion very small (dice it) or place in a food processor
  5. Cut up small pepper very small (dice it) and throw away the seeds and insides or place in a food processor
  6. Pulse the processor to finely chop the onion & pepper
  7. Add the onion & pepper to the meat along with the beaten egg. Mix.
  8. Add bread crumbs and grill seasoning to meat mixture. Mix together.
  9. In a small bowl mix together the barbecue sauce, salsa or Ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.
  10. Pour into the meat mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  11. Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop (though make sure it is a scoop only used for meat products) and scoop equal portions of the meat mixture into the muffin tins.
  12. Bake about 15 minutes. Let cool.
  13. The meatloaf muffins may crumble some when you remove them. This is normal. But they are still YUM (according to my kids!)
Barbara often serves the Muffin Meatloaf with:

Potatoes a la Barbara

  1. 2 1/2lbs of potatoes (red, gold, Idaho... your choice)
  2. 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  3. Dry garlic spread mix or onion soup mix
Utensils You Need:
  1. Large oven safe bowl or Silver Foil Pan
Recipe Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450º degrees
  2. Slice the potatoes thinly or cut into small squares.
  3. Put in a large oven safe bowl.
  4. Drizzle on about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil - until potatoes are covered.
  5. Use either dry garlic spread mix or onion soup mix - put into bowl and mix until potatoes are covered.
  6. Microwave for 6 minutes on High
  7. Then Bake in Oven for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. (I often put this bowl in with whatever meat I am cooking to save time.

Fairly simple to make and good for the kids. The only thing I personally am not wild about is nuking the potatoes in a microwave. I know it saves oodles of time, but if you think ahead, cook the potatoes for around 90 - 120 minutes in a an oven @ approximately 300º Fahrenheit. That is all there is too it. And as Barbara said in her email, "Enjoy!"

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just What Is This Holiday Called Hanukkah? (And A Simple Latke Recipe)

Over the past few days I have received quite a few emails asking me a great deal about Hanukkah and its significance. Though I have written about this before here @ Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen in the post "A Bit About Hanukkah & Some History", I realized that many Jewish traditions in regard to food I obviously take for granted. So in this post I will try to explain a bit more about Hanukkah than I did previously in the above mentioned post, and how the traditions of eating certain food groups developed.

I will try and concentrate on three main points.
  1. The Historical Background
  2. Some Of The Traditions Involved
  3. The Food Associated With Hanukkah
Some of what is written below obviously has nothing to do with food per-say so if you are not interested just skip over it. The following is not meant to be a comprehensive article either. So if you are looking for detailed specifics just Google it and there are a million sites explaining Hanukkah.

The Historical Background

Lighting The Large Hanukkiah (Hanukkah Menorah) in Jerusalem @ City Hall

The story of Hanukkah took place approximately in 165 BCE. (Many people make the mistake of thinking the events of Hanukkah were before those of the events of Purim and that which is described in the Book of Esther. This is incorrect. The events from the Book of Esther, which created Purim, took place before the Second Temple Era, at the end of the first exile, somewhere near 520 BCE. Hanukkah came much later, 165 BCE - during the Second Temple Era which lasted from 516 BCE - 70 CE.)

The story itself has both religious and political motifs which are intertwined and certainly have a bearing on the history of the Jewish people of the time. The Greek king, Antiochus IV, had ordered the Hellenization of the Jewish people. This meant that the official policy was to make all Jews convert and accept the Greek ways and religion. The practice of Judaism was in effect made illegal. Certain laws were concentrated upon. Circumcision was outlawed; the laws of Kosher; and the laws pertaining to keeping the Sabbath. Antiochus saw these, and rightfully so, as being the central core of the Jewish religion, and he assumed if he could break these laws and traditions he would in effect break the back of the Jewish people.

Perhaps the biggest mistake Antiochus made was to place a statue of Zeus in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This provoked the Jewish people living in Israel, as nothing else would. The Temple was the religious and political center for Jews in Israel. Idol Worship was the one thing that would not be tolerated within its midst. Thus the revolt of the Maccabees, known in history as the "Maccabeean Revolt" began. The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah led a rebellion against Antiochus. Judah became known as Yehuda HaMakabi ("Judah the Hammer"). By 166 BCE Mattathias had died, and Judah took his place as leader. By 165 BCE the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated and rededicated.

The festival of Hanukkah was instituted by Judah Maccabee and his brothers to celebrate this event. After recovering Jerusalem and the Temple, Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made. According to the Talmud, olive oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. But there was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle.
This then explains the very basics behind the story of Hanukkah. It must be made clear that there are a myriad of miracles including the one with the "oil" that are celebrated on Hanukkah. One of those miracles is the fact that a small army was able to defeat the Greek Empire. This also added to the myth and power of the holiday of Hanukkah.

The most famous, and tragic story of the days leading to the revolt is told of Hannah and her seven sons. Though this story is told in many different versions it finds its roots in the Talmud and then in the Second book of the Maccabees (part of the Apocrypha). In synopsis, Hannah and her seven sons are imprisined and then each son is asked to bow before an idol and declare that the idol of Zeus is their God. As each son refuses he is killed. Below I quote this story, in old English, however the tragic essence is there for all to see.
During the terrible times which followed the fall of the Holy City, Hannah and her seven sons were cast into prison.

According to their ages they were brought before the tyrant conqueror, and commanded to pay homage to him and his gods.

"God forbid," exclaimed the eldest lad, "that I should bow to thy image. Our commandments say to us, 'I am the Lord thy God;' to no other will I bow."

He was immediately led out to execution, and the same demand made of his brother, the second son.

"My brother bowed not," he answered, "and no more will I."

"Wherefore not?" asked the tyrant.

"Because," replied the lad, "the second commandment of the Decalogue tells us, 'Thou shalt have no other God but me.'"

His death followed immediately his brave words.

"My religion teaches me, 'Thou shalt worship no other God'" (Ex. 34: 14), said the third son, "and I welcome the fate accorded to my brothers rather than bow to thee or thy images."

The same homage was demanded of the fourth son, but brave and faithful as his brethren, he replied, "'He that sacrificeth unto any God save unto the Lord only'" (Ex. 22: 19), and was slain pitilessly.

"'Hear, O Israel! the Lord our God, the Lord is One,'" exclaimed the fifth lad, yielding up his young life with the watchword of Israel's hosts.

"Why art thou so obstinate?" was asked of the sixth brother, when he, too, was brought before the tyrant and scorned the propositions made him.

"'The Lord thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty and terrible God'" (Deut. 7: 21), he said; and died for the principles he proclaimed.

Then the seventh and youngest boy was brought before the murderer of his relatives, who addressed him kindly, saying:

"My son, come bow before my gods."

And the child answered:

"God forbid! Our holy religion teaches us 'Know therefore this day, and reflect in thy heart that the Lord he is God, in the heavens above and on the earth beneath there is none else' (Deut. 4: 39). Never will we exchange our God for any other, neither will He exchange us for any other nation, for as it is written, 'Thou hast this day acknowledged the Lord' (Deut. 26: 17), so is it also written, 'And the Lord hath acknowledged thee this day, that thou art unto him a peculiar people!'"

Still the tyrant spoke smoothly, and with kind words.

"Thou art young," he said; "thou hast seen but little of the pleasures and joys of life, not as much as has fallen to the portion of thy brethren. Do as I wish thee and thy future shall be bright and happy."

"The Lord will reign for ever and ever," said the lad; "thy nation and thy kingdom will be destroyed; thou art here to-day, to-morrow in the grave; to day elevated, to-morrow lowly; but the most Holy One endures for ever."

"See," continued the other, "thy brothers lie slain before thee; their fate will be thine if thou refusest to do as I desire. See, I will cast my ring to the ground, stoop thou and pick it up; that I will consider allegiance to my gods."

"Thinkest thou that I fear thy threats?" returned the unterrified lad; "why should I fear a human being more than the great God, the King of kings?"

"Where and what is thy God?" asked the oppressor. "Is there a God in the world?"

"Can there be a world without a Creator?" replied the youth. "Of thy gods ‘tis said, 'mouths they have, but speak not.' Of our God the Psalmist says, 'By the word of the Lord were the heavens made.' Thy gods have 'eyes but see not,' but 'the eyes of the Lord run to and fro in the whole earth!' Thy gods have 'ears but hear not,' but of our God ‘tis written, The Lord hearkened and heard.' Of thy gods ‘tis said, 'a nose they have but smell not,' while our God 'smelled the sweet savour.' 'Hands have thy gods but they touch not,' while our God says, 'My hand hath also founded the earth.' Of thy gods ‘tis written, 'feet they have but walk not,' while Zachariah tells us of our God, 'His feet will stand that day upon the mount of Olives.'"

Then said the cruel one:

"If thy God hath all these attributes, why does He not deliver thee from my power?"

The lad replied:

"He delivered Chananyah and his companions from the power of Nebuchadnezzar, but they were righteous men, and Nebuchadnezzar was a king deserving of seeing a miracle performed, but for me, alas, I am not worthy of redemption, neither art thou worthy of a demonstration of God's power."

"Let the lad be slain as were his brothers," commanded the tyrant.

Then spoke Hannah, the mother of the boys:

"Give me my child," she cried, "oh, cruel king, let me fold him in my arms ere thou destroyest his innocent young life."

She threw her arms around the lad, clasping him tightly to her bosom, and pressing her lips to his. "Take my life," she cried; "kill me first before my child."

"Nay," he answered, scoffingly, "I cannot do it, for thy own laws forbid; 'Whether it be ox or sheep ye shall not kill it and its young in one day'" (Lev. 28).

"Oh, woe to thee," replied the mother, "thou who art so particular to regard the laws." Then pressing her boy to her heart, "Go, my dear one," she said, "say to Abraham that my sacrifice hath exceeded his. He built one altar whereon to sacrifice Isaac; thy mother hath built seven altars and sacrificed seven Isaacs in one day. He was but tempted; thy mother hath performed."

After the execution of her last son, Hannah became insane, and threw herself from her house-top. Where she fell, she expired.

Happy are ye, ye seven sons of Hannah; your portion in the future world was waiting for you. In faithfulness ye served your God, and with her children shall your mother rejoice for ever in the eternal world.
The pathos behind Hanukkah, the miracle of the oil, the defeat of the Greeks, the inability for the Greeks to destroy the Jewish faith, the great sacrifices that were made - are all captured within this holiday.

Yet there is one more even greater lesson from Hanukkah. One that not only the Jewish people have adopted, but one that is ingrained in the Judeo-Christian tradition and roots. This theme simply put, is about "bringing light where there is darkness" - to "chase away the darkness of evil". To revel and rejoice in the light.

To this end the Talmud in the Tractate of Avodah Zorah, tells us a very interesting story about Adam and Eve. They had just been expelled from the Garden in Eden and had no idea how the laws of nature worked. Now tradition has it that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden after Rosh HaShanah (the Jewish New Year - as the creation of the world was completed on the eve of Rosh HaShanah). So as Adam and Eve were in there new world they noticed the days getting shorter and shorter with less and less light. They were convinced this was a punishment and God would slowly take all light from the world. The Talmud states:
Our Rabbis taught: When the first Adam saw the day getting gradually shorter, he said, "Woe is me, perhaps because I have sinned, the world around me is being darkened and returning to its state of chaos and confusion. This then is the kind of death to which I have been sentenced from Heaven!" So he began keeping an eight days" fast. But as he observed the winter equinox and noted the day getting increasingly longer, he said, "This is the world's course", and he set forth to keep an eight days festivity. In the following year he appointed both as festivals.
Now the Romans too had a festival of light during this time, and of course later Christianity in the form of Christmas and the birth of Jesus (the stars over Bethlehem and the light it brought to the world) as well adopted this motif.

Indeed, one can say that Hanukkah is equally a celebration of the renewal and cycle of Nature as it is a commemoration of the miracle of light. It is a holiday where we rejoice in many ways over the creation of a new light. One through the miracle of oil, and the other through the miracle of nature.

Some Of The Traditions Involved

The Hanukkiah

Of course the most famous tradition is in lighting of the "Hanukkiah" (the eight pronged candelabrum). Both candles and oil (olive oil not regular cooking oil) may be used to light the candles of the Hanukkiah. Indeed, just to be clear, one does not need a "Hanukkiah" to fulfill the commandment of lighting candles. All one has to do is to light the candles (first night one candle; second night two candles etc. until the eighth night and eight candles) in a straight row. However, you will see "nine" candle places on a normal Hanukkiah. This is because there is an injunction against using the light of the candles lit for Hanukkah for anything except the Hanukkiah. So we always light a "shamash" - "a serving candle" which is not on the same row as the others (it is placed higher or lower), and that candle and its light may be used. This is done to remember the miracle of the oil found in the Temple grounds when the Temple was retaken and the miracle that one day's worth of oil lasted for eight days. (Though in public electric bulbs are often used - the essential aspect of the commandment is that a "fire" must be lit.)

Since the Jewish "day" begins at nightfall, and goes from nightfall to nightfall, the Hanukkiah is lit at nightfall (or right before). Though one can light the Hanukkiah during all the hours of the night, as long as there are those who will see it. The candles or oil should be enough to last for at least 30-45 minutes.

This is because part of the commandment of lighting, is to "make acclaim to the miracle in public" ("Pirsum Ha'Nes"). In order to make acclaim to this miracle in public, the Hanukkiah is often placed in the front of a house or on a window ledge where it can be seen from the street. Again from Wikipedia (which is essentially correct below):
The reason for the Hanukkah lights is not for the "lighting of the house within", but rather for the "illumination of the house without," so that passers-by should see it and be reminded of the holiday's miracle. Accordingly lamps are set up at a prominent window or near the door leading to the street. It is customary amongst some Ashkenazim to have a separate menorah for each family member (customs vary), whereas most Sephardim light one for the whole household. Only when there was danger of anti-semitic persecution were lamps supposed to be hidden from public view, as was the case in Persia under the rule of the Zoroastrians, or in parts of Europe before and during World War II. However, most Hasidic groups, light lamps near an inside doorway, not necessarily in public view. According to this tradition, the lamps are placed on the opposite side from the mezuzah, so that when one passes through the door he is surrounded by the holiness of mitzvoth.

The Dreidel

The "dreidel" or "sivivon" (in Hebrew - meaning a "spinning top") is in itself an interesting game and tradition. The dreidel has four sides and on each side appears a Hebrew letter.
  1. "Nun" which is the first letter in "Nes" - meaning "miracle"
  2. "Gimel" which is the first letter in "Gadol" - meaning "big"
  3. "Hey" which is the first letter in "Hayah" - meaning "was"
  4. In Israel the forth letter is "Pay" the first letter in "Poh" - meaning "here"; outside of Israel the forth letter is "Shin" the first letter in the word "shom" - meaning there.
In Israel

In The Diaspora

The letters stand for the saying, "Nes Gadol Hayah Poh" - "A great miracle took place here"; Or (outside of Israel) "Nes Gadol Hayah Shom" - "A great miracle took place there".

There are many legends and stories as to how the how the Hanukkah dreidel came to be invented. One, though maybe not totally true, serves to accentuate the story of the Maccabees and the revolt against the Greeks.

Antiochus, among other things, forbade the study of Torah or the gathering of Jews in their synagogues. But the Jews kept on meeting secretly in small groups and in hidden places and studied the Torah by heart. In that way, if one forgot a passage, another who remembered could teach it to him while a third person served as a lookout at the door. When soldiers approached, a warning was given and the group would quickly break up and disappear through back doors and secret passages.

One of the tricks that were used to avoid discovery was the dreidel game. The students always kept a toy spinning top on the table while they were studying. If a soldier appeared before the members of the group could run away, one of them would begin to spin the dreidel and all would pretend, enthusiastically, that they were engaging in an innocent game. The soldier had no way of proving otherwise. And so, a little Hanukkah dreidel came to be.

Today, usually a game is played to guess on which letter the dreidel will land after spinning it and it is played for money. Hanukkah money or as it is known from the Yiddish, "Chanukkah Gelt" is given to the children.

Hanukkah Presents

I have no doubt that the presents given on Hanukkah developed as a result of the presents given on Christmas. This was to make sure that Jewish children did not look with envy upon others who received presents during this time of year and they did not. Which of course, now turns the tables and everyone wants to be Jewish!

While I was a child growing up in New York, my sister and I received a present each night of Hanukkah. I can still remember the big red fire engine Pop got for me. It forever cemented my belief that parents do know how to read their children's minds and angels do exist! However, a present each night made for 16 presents my parents had to account for, each and every year. It was a wonderful joyous time and I loved every minute of it. Yet I loved most of all taking walks with Pop along fifth avenue in the snow at night and looking at the magnificent store displays in Saks Fifth Avenue and Bonwit Teller and all the rest. Today with most of the kids grown, and I cannot afford to give six children a present each and every night, but I try to make sure they get one present which they really like. (I used to give presents each night though.)

The Food Associated With Hanukkah

Now that you understand the reasons behind lighting the candles, and the miracle of the "oil" you will understand why the food associated with Hanukkah is basically "fried" in oil. There is a pretty good posting on this subject, "Beyond Latkes: Eight Nights of Fried Delights" by Bonnie Wolf.

The usual fair that is mentioned are Latkes - Fried Potato Pancakes, and Sufganiyot - Donuts. (See Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen and the post - "Sufganiyot - Donuts with Jelly & Other Fillings" for a great recipe!)It used to be that the Sufganiyot were just filled with Jelly. Now we have all different types of fillings, from jelly, to cream, to vanilla, to white chocolate. The donuts themselves are made a zillion different ways and the best tasting ones are not fried but baked (but who is complaining? not me!). My sister happens to make incredible Latkes. This picture is from our Hanukkah Party last week.

But all in all, fried food in oil, even good ole' French Fries are fair edibles for Hanukkah. As you can imagine this is cholesterol heaven and not very healthy. But if you are careful and don't overdo it, then hell .. indulge yourself once in a while. Just to make this a recipe here, and to make you realize just how easy Latkes are... here we go.

  1. 10 Potatoes
  2. 1-2 cups of oil
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 5 Tablespoon(s) Bread Crumbs
  5. One onion - Optional
Utensils You Need:
  1. Frying Pan
  2. Peeler
  3. Food Processor
Recipe Directions:
  1. Peel the potatoes
  2. Run them through the food processor - cutting them up in really small pieces or strands
  3. If you are using an onion put that through the processor as well
  4. Mix in the eggs and bread crumbs
  5. Heat the oil in the frying pan
  6. Put your hand in water (so the batter does not stick to it) and pat out a "latke" the size of your palm.
  7. Dump it into the frying pan with the heated oil
  8. Turn over the "latke" after three minutes or so.
  9. Continue the process with the rest of your "latke" batter.
Simple and easy. No great need for any real difficult cooking or baking.

A special treat for readers of Help! I Have A Fire In My Kitchen.

Adam Sandler Three Part Video on The Hanukkah Song is really a treasure. DO NOT MISS THIS!

Put On Your Yarmulke & Have A Happy Happy Hanukkah!

In conclusion it would be good for all of us to remember, Jew and non-Jew alike, the central theme of Hanukkah. Let us always remember to chase away the darkness and always bring more light into this world of ours. Let us rejoice in the light of the candles and set them as a sign for all to see - for in truth, a great miracle takes place every day in our celebration of life.

Chase Away The Darkness