Hanukkah is my favorite holiday! Not because of the gifts, because let's face it, I don't really get anything these days. My husband and I get a couple of things for ourselves, wrap them, and have the other one give it to us. Surprise!
Hanukkah is my favorite because it is the time of year where we are reminded to celebrate family, friends, and be grateful for all we have. And even in this crazy world we live in, we can all look around and find things we are grateful for, and for that, I am thankful.
Just like most other Jewish holidays, it all comes back to food. We gather with family and friends around a table, light the chanukiah, and devour latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts). Not the healthiest of holidays, I know, but someone's got to do it. What can I say, your 3-day cleanse can wait until tomorrow.
I've been eating Latkes for more years than I'd like to admit and making them for almost as many, so I've gathered for you the best recipes for traditional latkes and a couple not-so-traditional ones.
A few tricks I've gathered along the way for those intimidated by the thought of making them yourself:
-Some swear by hand grating potatoes. Don't listen to them...I've tried both hand grating and using a food processor, and while the hand grating is (maybe?) marginally better, it's not enough for me to torture myself in that way. I pull out the food processor once or twice a year, this being one of those times!
-Squeezing the potatoes is essential: otherwise they will be too watery and fall apart. Do not skip this step. Wrap the grated potatoes in a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
-Now I hope you're still paying attention because this is the best tip: you know that bowl where you've been squeezing out the potatoes? at the bottom of that bowl is the potato starch you need for your crispy latkes! After squeezing the potatoes dry in a clean kitchen towel, let the liquid in the bowl settle. Pour off the liquid on top and then collect the potato starch from the bottom of the bowl and put it back into your shredded potatoes. TRUST ME.
-You can pre-make these, freeze them, and when the guests come over, instead of sweating over the frying pan, pop them into an oven, they'll come out crispy and delicious, and you'll look like a hero.
-And lastly, don't beat yourself up if you can't (or don't want to) make them: Trader Joe's has pretty good ones in their freezer section that could almost pass for homemade.
Here is the go-to Latke recipe I've been making for years, which was inspired by an old Gourmet Magazine recipe:
Serve latkes with applesauce, sour cream, or both.
Hop on over to our pinterest to find some more of our favorite Latke (and a couple Sufganiyot) recipes.
I've been using my kids' handmade menorah for years: we have quite a collection at this point (three kids, many years of Hebrew School, you do the math). It brings us joy to use these handmade items and the kids are proud seeing them being used during the holiday.
Making a menorah as a family doesn't need to be intimidating, nor time consuming. We've put together a short list of fun and easy menorahs you can assemble quickly with your kids. If they're anything like our kids, they love a good DIY project.
A final note about safety: never leave a lit menorah unattended. Always place a menorah on a nonflammable surface to catch any stray drips or fallen candles.
Enjoy! Hanukkah is a time celebrate Jewish traditions with family and friends.
This menorah is incredibly easy and fun! What kid (or adult) doesn't enjoy spray painting? For this menorah you will need nine empty clear glass wine (or beer) bottles. Paint each wine bottle gold (or any other color for that matter) to create your own beautiful menorah centerpiece. You’ll need one bottle for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, as well as a larger bottle for the Shamash candle, which is used to light the other candles.
Why not bring nature into your celebration with this beautiful branch menorah?
Assemble nine glass votives, one slightly taller than the rest (to hold the center shamash candle), small colored stones in any color or variety of colors (available at Michael's or any craft store), and nine slender candles. Fill votives two-thirds full with stones; then position candles, using the rocks to anchor them so they stand straight. Arrange in a line, and light according to tradition.
Source: Good Housekeeping
These Lego Menorahs we found on Pinterest are super fun and FLAMELESS! A great, fun activity for the younger kids in the house.
Feeling extra ambitious or have a big kid in the house who likes using his drill? This DIY Cooper Menorah by Design*Sponge is super cool!