Creative

Gluten Free Passover Almond Danish Pastry

A Gluten Free Passover Delight

The Feast of Unleavened Bread starts on April 9th.  That means you have just a few short days to finish off all those leavened goodies in your pantry before it is time to remove the Chametz (leavening products) from your house. If the thought of giving up fluffy breads and cakes seems too much to bear—don’t worry. Giving up leaven does not mean you have to sacrifice flavor, as demonstrated by Susan Boyd’s Gluten Free Almond Danish Pastry.

 

This Passover pastry perfectly combines brunch and dessert. It is characterized by a light and flaky crust, a hint of honey goodness and has been likened to modern-day manna. This recipe can easily satisfy a family of four with leftovers. But why not double it and share with some neighbors?

 

Gluten Free Passover Almond Danish Pastry

 

Base Layer

½ cup butter

1 cup GF flour blend*

2 Tbsp. water

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour until the size of small peas. Sprinkle water over mixture with a fork. Gather pastry into a ball; divide in half. Pat each half into rectangle, about 12”x3” on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 1/4 inch thick.

 

Egg layer

½ cup butter

1 cup water

1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup GF flour blend*

3 eggs

 

Heat butter and water to a rolling boil and then remove from the heat. Quickly stir in almond extract and flour. Return to low heat and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball, about one minute. Remove from heat and add eggs one at a time; beat until smooth and spreadable.

 

Spread half of the topping over each rectangle and bake for 50-60 minutes or until topping is crisp and golden brown. While that is baking, prepare your cream cheese frosting.

 

 

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese

¼ cup softened butter

¼ cup honey

½ tsp. almond extract

Sliced almonds (optional)

 

Beat together and spread on cool pastry.  Top with sliced almonds.

 

Recipe Notes:

You will need to make sure your GF flour blend does not contain any leavening products

 

If you make this treat (and you should), be sure to share a picture on our Instagram!

 

 

 

 

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Why is Music Important During Quarantine?

The Power of Music

 

A guitarist in New York writing songs and lyrics about the coronavirus. Bono writing songs about the illness and its effects on society. Italians in the balconies of Rome lifting each other’s spirits by joining together in song and music daily across the country. Music has forever been a part of every culture. In a sense, music is the only language that every culture across the world speaks. Music speaks to the soul of a person far deeper than anything else. “The language of music is common to all generations and nations,” Gioachino Rossini, the virtuosic opera composer, once said. “It is understood by everybody, since it is understood with the heart.”

So, during the quarantines being set across the world, people are taking advantage of the time at home to write songs and cheer each other’s spirits through melody. Musicians across balconies found connection with their neighbors and filled the silence of seclusion with tunes and melodies. In a sense, people across the world, whether musician or not, are embracing music as a common language to beat the quarantine.

 

How Does This Apply to Us?

 

Music is an opportunity for us to step into new areas of creativity in our life. Have you always wanted to play guitar, but never took it up? Have you always loved singing in the shower, but never got the courage to sing in front of other people? Have you thought about songs and poetry, but been too afraid to write the lyrics? Have you wanted to learn how to read music, but never took it on? Find a guitar! Watch Youtube videos on vocal lessons! Find songwriting tips online and pull out the pen and paper! All the resources we need are online, and the only thing holding us back from learning about it is ourselves.

We can use the melodies and songs we learn to glorify God and bring community together. How amazing is it to see people posting online about how they are taking up music? Does it make you excited to see people praising God in their living rooms? We can use the talent and skill God gives to us to bring people together in community. Bring people into your new musical journey and use the songs you learn to bring hope to the others around you.

We can take this time to allow music to fill us up with new gratitude and joy for the God we serve. Ephesians 5:19 says “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” Now is your opportunity to learn a new skill and glorify God with your talent, skill and worship!

So what are you waiting for? Pick up that dusty guitar, and pull out the journal and pens. Let creativity be your guide, and praise the Lord with your heart, soul and mouth.

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Sixteen Ways to Flourish While Quarantined

Flourish While Quarantined?

Let’s face it, being stuck in our homes for the next several weeks because of coronavirus is not going to be easy. We don’t just want to cope during this time and leave our homes at the end of two months full of cabin fever and swear it was the worst time of our lives. With a little bit of conscious investment and a lot of fun, we can flourish while quarantined! Here is a list of some practical ways you and your family can enjoy this time of rest and take advantage of the situation.

Cultivate Your Emotional Health

  1. Take some time to journal. Step out of your life and reflect. Take these evenings at home captive as you write out what God is doing in your life during this time.
  2. Make time for unscheduled creativity. Turn off social media and entertainment and give yourself and your kids time to be creative. Get the legos out! Get the paints out! Make playdough and mud pies! Kids need time for unfettered creativity so their minds can grow in imagination and new ideas. Start up one of your own hobbies again. Maybe now is the time to learn to play that instrument you have always been wanting to learn. Maybe you will finally get around to learning how to sketch. Be creative and take the time you need to do it.
  3. Read books that nourish your heart and mind. Reading is a wonderful way to open up our worlds. Whether you choose non-fiction or fiction, every book will add to your life. Bring out new books for you kids, and better yet, read a classic book with your kids aloud.
  4. Declutter. Complete house projects. Give stuff away. We are stepping into the spring, so what better time to clean house! Clean out those empty shelves and complete the Honey-do list. Give away the things you don’t need, and refresh your house and mind with simplicity.

Cultivate Your Physical Health

  1. Start a new exercise routine. We all tried that New Year’s resolution to get more fit, but for most of it, it didn’t stick. Maybe now is your chance to workout, clean up our diet, and get back into healthy routines.
  2. Rest and sleep. What better time to rest and refresh ourselves? Most Americans barely sleep 6.8 hours a night! Now we can take the time to get the sleep our culture sorely lacks.
  3. Take time to prepare your food. Nothing is more exciting than learning a new recipe and eating something you made with your own hands. Pull out recipe books and teach your kids how to cook!
  4. Go to the great outdoors! Go for walks in your neighborhood, plan hikes, and ride bikes! No one told us we couldn’t be outside, so take advantage of it and get some fresh air!

Cultivate Your Spiritual Health

  1. Spend time reading and studying God’s Word. Everyone tries to make time for Bible reading, what better time to do it? Pick up on that book of the Bible you have been studying, or memorize scripture.
  2. Pray. Consider this season as a time to fast and pray for your life, family, church and city. Our nation and our cities need prayer right now in the midst of an unstable economy, and sickness. Teach your kids to pray for others during this time, and encourage them to see how God answers prayer when we call out to him.
  3. Review your personal life goals. Go back through the journey of your life and create an identity statement for your life. Reorient and recalibrate your mind and heart. You may find that the next several weeks will drastically change how you see your life.
  4. Take up a new spiritual discipline. Meditation, Lectio Divina, fasting and simplicity are all forms of spiritual disciplines that will change your life and habits if you let them.

Cultivate Relational Health

  1. Connect with your family and friends. Though we are encouraged to avoid those who are vulnerable, this is a great opportunity to spend time with those who you need to reconnect with. Make phone calls, FaceTime calls, email, or even write a letter! Remember, others need to flourish while quarantined as well.
  2. Spend extra time with your family. Have meaningful discussions with your spouse and kids. This is a great time to give your energy and support to them as much as you can.
  3. Find ways to serve and give to those in need, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Take care of those who are quarantined and reach out to your neighbors. Find people who need help in this time and find a way to support them as much as you are able.
  4. Reconcile relationships. If you have experienced conflict or tension with someone else, do what you can to reconcile the relationship. Being in a hard emotional and economic situation makes people rethink their relationships, and it is a good time for you to evaluate your relationships as well.

You Can Flourish While Quarantined

Despite the difficulty of the times we are walking in, we can use this time of rest to reevaluate and thrive! If you have ideas, share them with others and support their growth and refreshment in this time. Together, with a little bit of help, we can all flourish while quarantined. Have a lovely next few weeks!

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Unleavened Bread (Why We Eat it and How to Make it)

Unleavened Bread: What is it? 

When the people of Israel fled Egypt during the first Passover, there was no time for their bread to rise. So as they journeyed to the land promised by God, they relied on unleavened bread to sustain them. To remember their journey, and to commemorate our own yearly walk into new freedom, we are a people that celebrate the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

This year, the Feast runs April 9th-15th, so mark your calendars! Today we rid our lives of common leavening agents. The major culprits of today are yeast, baking powder, and baking soda. Not only will we be preparing food without them, but we also remove them entirely from our pantries and homes.

 

Just as a little leaven affects an entire loaf, unchecked sin multiplies in our lives.  The Spring Holidays invite us into freedom. And the Feast of Unleavened Bread invites us into holiness and freedom from sin. And by removing leavening products, we are renewing our commitment to the removal of sin in our lives. As a result, we eat matzah, or unleavened bread. And we eat a lot of it…

 

With a little creativity, matzah can find a place in almost all your favorite recipes—bread, pizza crust, and lasagna noodles. I have even seen some pretty creative matzah cakes and matzah-bread houses (in lieu of gingerbread houses).

 

If you are new to unleavened bread, here is Susan Boyd’s fail proof recipe.

 

The Recipe: How to Make it 

¼ cup white flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¼ tsp. salt

¼ cup oil

2 Tbsp. cold water

Sesame seeds (optional)

 

Stir flour and salt together. Add oil to flour and mix with a fork. Sprinkle the cold water over the dough and mix it in. Roll the dough onto a cookie sheet, score it into squares, and pierce with a fork.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

Because of the small number of ingredients and the quick turnaround time, baking unleavened bread is a great way to engage your kids during the holiday. Not only does it create an opportunity to share the stories of Passover, but it also builds traditions that your children will pass along to their future generations.

 

Unleavened bread may sound intimidating, but like most things Yahweh invites us into, it is pretty simple.  And it is full of rich goodness. So go ahead, start planning your unleavened recipes. You won’t regret it.

 

Be sure to look for our post sharing Susan’s GF Passover Almond Danish Pastry.

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Six Ways to Make Passover Fun for Your Kids

PASSOVER 2023

Mark your calendars! April 5th, 2023 begins the 8-day celebration of Passover fun for parents and kids alike. Each year, we remember the miraculous journey that Moses led the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery. Simultaneously, we begin walking into new freedoms in our own lives. Just as Yahweh confronted the idols in Egyptian culture to declare freedom for the Israelites, He invites us to witness His redemptive plan for our lives in new ways each year.

With so much good in a holiday, it only makes sense to include our children. If the sheer love of sharing hope and miraculous victory isn’t enticing enough, you can study the commandment to share this story with our children in Exodus 13:14.

To help give you inspiration, here are 6 easy ways to help your children engage in the holiday. Remember, these ideas don’t replace the day-to-day narrative and relationship you share with your child that will help them enter into the holiday in meaningful ways. These are simply tools to help create opportunities. Let’s dig into some Passover fun for kids.

1. READ STORIES WITH YOUR KIDS

Stories are the foundation on which all other elements are built. Stories are relatable. They are interesting. And the Bible is full of them. So it makes sense to read (or tell) stories for Passover. Because our house includes children, we love to supplement the actual story of the Exodus with fun books. You can find books online, in the library, or even some stores.

2. LET KIDS BE CREATIVE

Creating 10 plagues finger puppets. Building a matzah house. Making felt Seder plates! Online, there are a ton of kid-friendly ideas to get their brain working. Crafts and family activities help kids enter into the festivities, and they are a great way to build family traditions.

3. PUT KIDS TO WORK

Resist the temptation to send your kiddos outside while you crank out your holiday preparations. Instead, let them help you. Let them hunt down the chametz (leavened food items) and toss them out. Give them a job, like cleaning around the house, to help build anticipation for the festivities. And even let them help with the food preparations.

4. SING AND DANCE

All kids love songs. All kids learn through songs. Songs are a big deal in our house. We love to be silly. Music helps us remember important things, like why we celebrate Passover in the first place. Here are a few of our favorites. We would love to hear some of yours!

Jesus the Lamb of God”

5. WATCH THE PRINCE OF EGYPT

Sure, this kids movie isn’t totally accurate. But it is a great story, and it will help your children relate to the Passover story. It will get them emotionally connected, and is a good starting point for meaningful conversations. We love to watch this movie as a family each year.

6. USE THE FUN LINGO WITH KIDS

Holidays come with their own special words and associations and can seem like another language altogether. In the case of Passover, it actually is. Teach your kids the Hebrew words like afikomen, chametz, and other holiday words by using them around the house. And don’t forget to teach them the Passover greeting, “Chag Pesach Sameach.”

 

I hope you are inspired and ready to celebrate Passover with your family! Remember, these suggestions are only a few ideas to help bring your kids alongside you as you engage the holiday. The opportunities really are endless! The real magic of Passover for children comes not from a perfectly planned evening, but from sharing The Lord’s redemptive power with our children.

May your season be filled with freedom and hope!

Chag Pesach Sameach!

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Passover Recipes

Passover recipes are all over the internet. Passover poses challenges to even the most seasoned chef or baker due to the lack of leavening in the meals. During the seven days between Passover and Unleavened Bread, we are instructed to not eat leaven as a reminder of the Israelites who left Egypt in such a hurry they couldn’t let their bread rise in time.

Because of this, the internet has taken the challenge on, and Passover recipes working around the leavening component are found everywhere! We would encourage you to find your own recipes for desserts, baked goods and yummy dinners. The recipes listed below are our chef’s favorite recipes to try during the Spring season. All of them are wonderful additions to your Passover meal, and we hope you find great use in these tried and true recipes!

Moroccan-Style Brisket with Dried Fruit and Capers

Brisket, either lamb or beef is a typical main course for a Passover meal, but this recipe has some pizazz! Try this out for the best brisket you have ever had!

Passover Recipes Brisket

Chocolate Chip Walnut Mandelbrot:

A biscotti-like cookie, Mandelbrot are Eastern European style cookies, often with chocolate, walnuts or almonds. And the best part is… completely leaven-free!

Passover Food Dessert Mandelbrot

Chocolate Macaroon Cake: 

Think chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons… but as a cake! A fantastic addition to your Passover dessert menu, everyone will be asking for more of this!

Passover Food and Recipes

Passover Chocolate-Toffee Matzo

Take the traditionally boring Matzo cracker and turn it into matzo covered in chocolate: think heavenly! Any toppings can be switched out for the toffee, but all versions are delicious!

Passover Food Dessert Matzo

Passover Pistachio and Dried Fruit Haroset

A classic passover recipe, haroset is a paste made of fruit and nuts, and it is typically used during a Passover Seder. This recipe can’t be beat!

Passover Food Haroset
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