Celebrating Hanukkah with my first ever Challah!

My friend, Avital, who lives in Israel,sent me this beautiful photograph she took a couple years ago of a simple Menorah and I asked her to allow me to share it with everyone today.  Thank you so much Avital.

One of the things I love most about this image is the reflections of the candle flames - to me it is almost as if they are extending back in time - as if they are a connection to previous generations. And check out her beautiful image of Hanukkah street light decorations in her city

Hanukkah seems to be an appropriate time to be sharing my friend,  Avital; but before I do,  I want to show you my very first Challah which was a huge success thanks to Avital's patience and help and guidance.

Although I have been baking bread for many years, I was always intimidated to try Challah.  Because it is so delicious, I was certain it would be beyond my capabilities!  And then there is the thing about braiding!  I don't do a terribly good job with braiding hair - I couldn't imagine I could braid bread dough.

But as you can see - I did it!  Beautiful braid!

After about an hour it had risen and still looked like a braid! Yay!  So far so good!

My first Challah!  And besides being beautiful - it is delicious!  Just the way I remember it!  And I know it is a success because I can't keep my husband away from it!

Avital has adapted this Challah recipe from A Year in Bread to eliminate the use of dairy products. 

I took her advice to try using Challah to make French Toast!  Challah makes the best French Toast I have ever eaten.  My husband loved it so much he asked me to make him more!  It is so light - not heavy as most French Toast tends to be.

Be sure to try Avital's recipe for Chocolate Walnut Cake. We have been munching this for breakfast!

You might want to check out this link she sent me to traditional Hanukkah recipes and foods.

Avital , who just began blogging this summer, shares insights into everyday life in Israel.  She has taken us on a tour of Tellers Bakery, shown us the Jerusalem Model installed in the architecturally incredible Israel Museum, and intimate views inside Sukkah's - her friend's Sukkah and her own Sukkah during a wind storm!

She has a passion for photography and often shares her beautiful images taken in and around her home town.  Here are a few of my favorites!  Palms at DawnPampas Grass at Sunset, Land of Milk and Honey, Spinning in the Wind.  Sometimes she shares the results she has obtained through using unusual photographic tricks like Free Lensing.  And check out these images taken during a fireworks display.  They are not her photos but she is trying to learn the technique. I can't wait to see her results! I know she will succeed!

Avital has just completed a beautiful counted cross stitch piece, and has already embarked on a new, very ambitious counted cross stitch embroidery project. You will want to follow as she posts her progress but you can catch up here, and here

Since counted cross stitch requires working with so many, many different threads, she had included tutorials for beginning and ending a thread with a pin stitch. Her instructions and photographs are very clear and explain the technique perfectly. Excellent tutorials.

I know everyone is inundated with things to keep them busy these days, so if you don't feel you have time to visit Avital's blog now, be sure to bookmark it or put it in your reader and go visit in January.  You will be glad you did!

Diane just posted this tutortial for making a simple Menorah on the new CRAFT.   Don't you just love the colors she has used?

And since today is December 10th - what I refer to as" Angel Day", here is the image hidden behind door # 10 of my Advent Calendar!

Angel Day?  Because there was the most beautiful angel image behind door # 10 of the Advent Calendar my Grandfather sent to me when I was about 8 years old.  It was my favorite and I never forgot it!  Angel Day honors my Grandfather who introduced me to my life long fascination for Advent Calendars.


 I love Avital's blog, too.

 I love Avital's blog, too. Her photography is so beautiful.

Also, I thought I should point out that we have no homemade Challah at our house. I looked everywhere. :-)

Um, Pam, I think that's a

Um, Pam, I think that's a hint. After you finish baking those ten million cookies, make a few loaves for Diane. :)

I'm overwhelmed! Thank-you!

I'm overwhelmed! Thank-you!

I loved Avital's blog. Her

I loved Avital's blog. Her photographs a really wonderful. Thanks for showing us all these different cultures!

I absolutely love challah. I

I absolutely love challah.
I have a recipe that I have been too afraid to try because it seems so complicated. I need to work up the courage to make this, because I adore challah. My favorite Einstein bagel of all time? The challah bagel!