May 26, 2017

Endless Streams of Free Music With Spotify

Have you ever dreamed of an endless music library?  Well, Spotify is making this dream a reality – for FREE!  Spotify is fast becoming the most popular and successful way to listen to all and any music you want from the Spotify App on your tablet, smartphone or computer.

Spotify is a simple and light software application that lets one find and play a terrific range of music instantly.  With Spotify you can play the music you want – from their vast collection of millions of CDs- for free and on demand.  No strings attached.  It also allows you to create your own playlists to always come back to the music you love.  Via Spotify’s Facebook app, you can see what your friends are listening to and discover new music that way too.

Sign up for Spotify for FREE HERE.

Hat tip:  How about signing up the dad in your life for a free Spotify account and give him thousands of new CDs for free this Father’s Day!



Super-Slip Skirt Extenders

That’s me in my super-slip skirt extender

Just before Passover, Shell Sheli sent me samples of their brand new, exclusive Super-Slip Skirt Extenders to try out.  With the mad rush of Passover, the slips were placed in my closet and all but forgotten about… until a function that I attended last week.  I wanted to wear my newest basic black dress, the dress that should be in every woman’s closet, but noticed that it was a tad too short for my standards.  Instead of the typical cotton hard tail black shell skirt that I usually wear to extend dresses, I decided to try my Super-Slip Skirt Extender from Shell Sheli.  I have to tell you, it looked perfect and I LOVED wearing it!

Super-Slip Skirt Extender

The super-slip skirt extender is made of satiny comfortable slip fabric and was so comfortable to wear and was so easy to move around in, especially when compared to the tight cotton shell skirts I usually wear.  It was very liberating.  It also looked nice, the fabric used in the extension is a dressy fabric and blended well with my black dress.

Shell Sheli is the exclusive maker and retailer of these super-slip skirt extenders.  You can buy them on sale now from Shell Sheli for $25.99.

KikiRiki Layering Dress

Shell Sheli carries a large variety of popular Kiki Riki shells in all sizes, styles and colors for adults and children and the newest, hottest Kiki Riki Layering Dress is also on sale for $43.99 for the 3/4 sleeve and $45.99 for the long sleeve dress.

Visit Shell Sheli for all your shell and skirt extention needs!

 

Lag B’Omer & 3 Year Old Boys

Lag B’Omer is almost here and along with bonfires, shopping and musical instruments, we get haircuts.  Especially that special haircut for adorable little boys who have turned the precious age of three years old.

For those of you who are ‘in the parsha’ as we like to say, those who have 3 year olds ready for an upsherin, 3 year old grandsons, nephews or close friends, M&M Designs makes some really special edible treats customized for your special party.  Some of the most popular of these treats are the custom upsherin cookies.  (by the way, they also make cookies, brownie bits, cake bites and pops for any of your occasions).

It is a common Jewish custom to allow a boy’s hair to grow untouched until he’s three years old.  On his third birthday, friends are invited to a haircutting ceremony—called an upsherin in Yiddish, and a chalakah by Sephardic Jews.  From this point on, a child is taught to wear a kipah and tzitzit and learns his first Hebrew letters, alef – beis with some honey to remember that Torah learning is as sweet as honey.

There is also a very different German/Yekkish custom to create something called a wimple for a boy to use to celebrate his turning three, instead of an upsherin.  A wimple is a beautiful large piece of cloth (about 10 foot long banner) that the child wraps around the sefer Torah.  It is designed with the child’s name and some pesukim wishing the child to grow up to be a great person who does Mitzvos.  It contains beautiful pictures and designs.  Check out this beautiful custom made wimple made by Not2Shabbey.com.  You can also find custom embroidered Yarmulkes & hand painted tzitzit for that special 3 year old from Not2Shabbey as well.

Lag BaOmer falls this year on Thursday, May 10, 2012.  It is celebrated with outings, bonfires, and other joyous events.  Lag BaOmer also carries the theme of the imperative to love and respect one’s fellow and, back to my upshurin theme, many use the celebratory day as a time to give their 3 year old son their first haircut, since the days from Passover until Lag B’Omer, are considered a period of mourning.

 

 

 

My Most Favorite Food Restaurant Turns Kosher For Passover

My Most Favorite Food Restaurant – Open Chol Ha Moed Passover 2012 & Year Round

My Most Favorite Food is a wonderful restaurant that boasts a rich & flavorful history in the city of Manhattan.  In its present Upper West Side of Manhattan location, it caters to the large Jewish & kosher-keeping community who live and thrive there.  Their menu offers a full range of delicious healthy foods for gluten-free & gluten-lovers alike.  They offer a wide assortment of seasonal salads, grilled/baked fresh fish and the traditional home-made pasta dishes found in most dairy restaurants.  They also have a mouth-watering menu of fresh home-baked desserts, available to eat or take-out.

The owners of My Most Favorite Food found me through this website and invited to come and eat in the restaurant to write a review.  That was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up since, first, I was familiar with the older, My Most Favorite Dessert Company and was curious to see why the name & location change and second because, well, who doesn’t need a night out in the city with the hubby (on the house!).  So, while my review may subconsciously be skewed by the fact that I got a night out on the house, I can definitely say that after my meal, I would go there again as a paying patron, in a heart-beat.

The restaurant is gorgeous and fitting to the upper west side location with its combination of red brick warmth and full length cool city windows.  The serving staff were attentive, knowledgeable and provided us with a relaxing and pampered experience.  And the food was superb.   I am on the Dukan Diet which means I am wheat, gluten & pasta free.  So the grilled Salmon and Greek Salad were my choices.  My husband, on the other hand, can keep skinny while still eating an entire plate full of baked ziti at 10:00pm (which was when we finally got the kids to bed & drove out to the city).  My salmon was wild (which is much healthier than farm-fed), fresh and perfect.  My husband’s pasta was just as delicious and fresh.  For purposes of this review, I made sure to taste my husband’s My Most Favorite Cheesecake and regretfully, it was so good I couldn’t stop with one bite!  Had it not been so close to Passover, I would have brought home half the take-out bakery goods for Shabbat.  And the other half as guilt offerings for my kids for leaving them with a babysitter for the evening.  They have these adorable little mini-cupcakes & cookies beautifully decorated for the kids.  They were just too pretty to leave in the store!

However, I think what’s most notable about this wonderful restaurant is the lengths they go to to satisfy their customers.  Some of you may know that when I’m not running The Kosher Shopaholic, I do business coaching for a living.  So I am accustomed to noticing a star when I see one.  Not many business owners would expend the amount of effort, time and money to turn an entire (pasta, pastry, cake) restaurant and off-site commissary Kosher for Passover. But My Most Favorite Food, catering to the needs of the surrounding Kosher community does.  You can live anywhere in the US and still order from their wide assortment of “I-can’t-believe-its-Kosher-for-Passover” selections as they ship throughout the country.  Of course, if you live closer by, you can call in an order for delivery or better yet, take the whole family out to eat there for Chol Ha Moed.   And after the seders moms, you deserve a break! 

Click here to see their full Kosher-for-passover menu.  And if you do go visit them, make sure to tell them I sent you!

BTW – the dessert in this picture is their success cake: layers of almond meringue with French vanilla crème, garnished with toasted almonds.  Available for passover and year round!

My Favorite Passover Products

The Jewish holiday of Passover is soon upon us.  It begins at sundown on Friday, April 6, 2012 and ends at sundown on April 14, 2012.   If you are like most Jewish women and men, you are probably finding yourself extra busy with all the preparations.  This year, instead of getting frantic over the 2 year old dancing in your living room with her fist full of cheerios, how about some retail therapy to calm your nerves!  It always works for me.  After all, we are supposed to save our best cookary & dishes to bring out and use only on Pesach to help us enhance our joy and pleasure during our yomtov days.  This works for me –  as Passover approaches I find myself getting excited over finally being able to use my gorgeous silver fine bone china!  For your sanity, I’ve compiled a list of some of my most favorite Passover products.  I hope they help to enhance your pleasure this Passover season.

For The Host & Hostess

Seder Plates – This link here features a beautiful selection of ceramic, glass, and silver Judaica seder plates to adorn your Passover table.  You can never have too many of these seder plates as it is customary for every family at the table have one of their own.

Artscroll Family Haggadah &  Artscroll Children’s Haggadah.  Does anyone still use those old Maxwell House Hagaddahs?  I remember them from when I was a child when Artscroll wasn’t yet around.  The Artscroll Family Haggadah will help guide anyone from non-observant to ultra-orthodox through the Passover seder – with educational, accurate and interesting tidbits.  I particularly enjoy the pictures in the Children’s Haggadah, as much as my children do.  They really help bring your seder to life.  Get these for your seder, for your guests, for your children &/or for your hosts.  Its probably the most useful & enlightening gift around.

Passover Cookbooks .  This years newest Passover cookbooks are Dining In On Pesach and The No Potato Passover: A Journey of Food, Travel and Color
which have received rave reviews.

You can also enjoy classic favorite Passover cookbooks such as Susie Fishbein’s Passover By Design, and Levana’s newest Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen is chockfull of Passover recipes as are all of Norene Gilletz’s cookbooks.

You should also check out these brand new Passover eBooks:The Rebbetzin Cooks: 40 Recipes for Passover and Beyond for only 99cents from Amazon and The Kosher Celiac’s Passover Cookbook – Over 75 Recipes for only $4.95!

For the Kitchen

Rachel Ray cookwear (I bought these!).  Treat yourself to a new set of Stainless Steel Pots & Pans drastically reduced from $285 to only $99 – they’ll really enhance your Passover recipes.

Fine bone china.  I’ll bet you never thought of buying your Lenox or Waterford Crystal Bone China at 50% off from Amazon.  Buy you can!  Just take a look at these gorgeous china sets at over 50% savings!

 For Kids

Here are some great toys & games that you can order just in time for Passover.  They can help bring to life your seder, make great yontif & chol ha moed games or the perfect afikoman present.

Sammy Spider’s First Passover.  This adorable children’s book featured beautiful artwork in the same style as an Eric Carle book, weaving a beautiful tale of passover.  We received one of these books as a gift a few years ago & I love to use it to introduce the Passover season to the little ones.

Shalom Sesame, 2010, No. 7: It’s Passover, Grover!.  Who doesn’t love the classic Sesame Street characters?  This DVD is sure to keep the little ones busy while you do those last minute cooking preparations.

Passover Bag of Plagues.  What’s a seder without one of these little bag of tricks?  This inexpensive bag of plagues brings the seder to life & helps keep everyone alert as you act out each of the makkos!  Set your table with a bag for each guest to keep everyone engaged all night long! Or, better yet, make a home-made bag of plagues with your kids!

Passover Box of Questions.  This game is from Melissa & Doug’s newest collection of toys.

Passover Flip Frogs Set of 12.  This particular bag of plastic frogs are only $2 – so have some fun & throw them all over the table and house when the plague sets in!

KidKraft Passover Set.  Role play is little ones favorite past-time.  Let them have fun setting thier own toy passover table complete with everything they need for a mock seder.  Grown ups have been caught playing with this set from time to time.

Passover “Ten Plagues” Finger Puppets Judaica.  These little finger puppets offer a creative and animated way to tell the story of our exodus from Egypt.

Chametz – The Search is On!Here’s a fun detective like board game for the older children of the house.

Specialty Foods

Gluten-Free Matzos.  Sharon Mattan wrote a great review of  Yehuda’s Gluten Free matzoh for The Kosher Scoop  – check it out!  She says, “I have to admit I was a little nervous about the matzoh.  How would it compare to the cardboard type gluten-filled matzoh that we are all used to?  After tasting it I have to admit that I could eat a box of the Yehuda Gluten Free Matzoh-Style Squares in one sitting.  The “matzoh” is potato based so it has a potato-crisp, slightly salty flavor.  I really had to stop myself – I needed some for the recipes!! ”

 

 

 

 

The popular restaurant, My Most Favorite Food turns itself magically Kosher for Passover in order to serve their customers Kosher For Passover meals desserts and delicacies.  Take a look at their awesome Passover take-out menu here & make sure you treat yourself and your family to a meal out during chol ha moed!

Matzel Toff!  If you haven’t yet heard about the newest fun dessert snack product to hit the shelves for Pesach, check it out & buy some now!  Your kids will love this toffee, chocolate matzoh dessert just like the one grandma used to make from scratch.  If you buy 4 boxes, you get the fifth free! 

Lets not forget that all Jewish holidays are a time to give back to others in the community.  Yad Eliezer’s annual Passover campaign provides a literal ‘Chicken in Every Pot’ for any Jewish family that needs it.  You can donate to Yad Eliezer’s Chicken in a Pot campaign here or to any charity organization or your choice and help fight poverty.

Resources

If you would like more educational resources to enhance your seder & holiday, Aish, NJOP and Chabad websites are great places to find information and learn.

Saving the most important for last, don’t forget that you can also download a free app from the Orthodox Union to help you find Kosher for Passover food products as well as find a list of all things Passover from the OU Virtual Passover Guide, 2012/5772, here.

Wishing all my Kosher Shopaholic readers a Chag Kasher V’Sameach – a happy & healthy holiday!

 

 

 

A Very Punny Matzel Toff Review

Matzel Toff!

Don’t you just love the pun?  Mazel Tov … Matzel Toff…  get it?  Last week I offered my readers a chance to create their own cute Pesach related pun to win a family sized box of Matzel Toff.  Here are some of the creative puns that came in:

Carrie Rosenbush writes, “What’s a lion’s favorite pesach vegetable? Ma-Roarrrrrr!”

Jen Han writes, “Is everything here co-share? (kosher)”

L.T. Zeen writes, “Where’s the Matzel Toff? Please PASS it OVER!”

Sarah Hurwitz our WINNER writes, “don’t “passover” the toffee dessert i will be serving! :)”

Naomi Elbinger writes, “i wanna be a matzo man

Jessica Kobrin Bernstein writes, “What do you call someone who likes to eat matza? A matzochist

Matzel Toff! has another great deal for you!  From now until the end of the Passover holiday – April, 14, 2012 when you buy 4 boxes of MatzelToff mouth-watering toffee chocolate Kosher-for-Passover treats, you get a fifth FREE! 

What is MatzelToff?

Its the matzah make-over you’ve been waiting for – using only the finest ingredients to enrobe Streit’s matzah in mouth-watering toffee and rich chocolate.  This delectable gourmet treat has won the hearts – and taste buds! – of everyone who has indulged in its scrumptious flavor, including Joan Hamburg, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray, who’ve highlighted Matzel Toff! as a Passover favorite.

Certified Kof-K Kosher and kosher for Passover, Parve Dark Chocolate Matzel Toff, or milk chocolate variety makes the perfect Seder host/hostess gift, ideal family treat, present for a friend, or anytime indulgence for yourself – keep a stash to munch on to make the eight day chametz-free holiday a bit more bearable.  Great year round as well!

Click here to try it – you’ll be glad you did!

 

 

Manischewitz Matzah Factory Tour: A Photo Journal

I was invited to go on a private media tour of the Manischewitz Matzah factory in Newark, New Jersey.  They are at the end of their Shmura Matzoh run for the Passover season, 2012, and allowed us in to watch as they made the last few batches (or few thousand boxes) of shmura matzoh.  Next week, when most of us Jews are turning our kitchens over to ready-for-Passover dishes and utensils, the Manischewitz factory will already be turning thier Kosher-for-Passover factory back to year-round, non-passover status (not to worry, they shut down the entire week of Passover)!

With my handy iPhone 4, I was able to take some magnificent pictures and videos of the matzoh making process in their new state-of-the-art facility.  I’ve compiled them into a photo-journal for your enjoyment.

 

 

 

The Complete Bentching CD & Newest Bentching App

The Complete Bentching CD & Newest Bentching App

The Bentching App Lite is now FREE on iTunes.  Scroll down to bottom of page for link to skip the review of this beautiful new app & go strait to the App.

The Bentching CD and The Bentching AppTM is a totally unique and personal way to learn the traditional Jewish “Grace After Meals” prayers & tunes and provides musical enjoyment for the whole family. It is a beautiful musical arrangement of Bentching by professional singer/Chazan Adam Davis offered in either CD or App format.

The Bentching App is the newest creation featuring the same musical arrangement as the CD but for use on your iPad (iPhone app coming soon) and is based on highly acclaimed “Complete Bentching CD”.

The Complete Bentching CD or App is for adults and kids alike, when using the app you can sing along with the apps Hebrew or English transliteration or use a bentching card of your own.  Best of all, it offers beautiful musical arrangement and vocals.   It is truly a pleasure to listen to as its done by professionally trained singer Adam Davis.   The app lets you see the hebrew words as you hear them but you can follow along even if you don’t read Hebrew since it also has english translitteration.

This would make a great gift for young children to help them learn and love traditional bentching tunes.  It is also a really beautiful gift for someone who is new to Bentching or hasn’t mastered Hebrew reading yet (since it has English Transliteration).

Here’s some of the praise for “The Complete Bentching CD”.

“An absolute pleasure to listen to it”
“My Kids and I have literally worn out your CD from listening so much, please send me another copy!”
“My Husband loves your CD and has learned the Bentching!
“Thank you so much , I’m not longer embarrased at family meals and weddings, I can follow and sing along !”  “I used your CD to learn the Bentching and I lead the Bentching at my brothers wedding – thank you so much !”
“Thank you for what you’ve done here for so many families and their Shabbos tables!”

Vocals by Cantor Adam Davis, an Orthodox Chazan in Johannesburg, South Africa. His vocal repertoire spans the Classical, Pop, Contemporary genre. He has recorded 3 CD’s and a host of individual songs by artists such as Josh Groban. Adam Davis has studied under Cantors Nathan Gluck, at Yeshiva University School of Music in New York under Chazan Malovany, with Rabbi-Chazan Benzion Volpo in Johannesburg,with Alexander Izbitser in New York and voice with Eugenie Chopin.

iPad/iPhone App Development: 

www.appster.co.za

Bentching App Lite – Free now in iTunes here.

Special Introductory App Price $1!

GET  the App NOW  on iTunes

Get the CD NOW here.

Kosher Food & Wine Experience, 2012 – Sold Out to over 1,000 Consumers

Welcome to the 6th Annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience, well vicariously, at least!

Kosher wines & culinary treats from all over the world were showcased at the KFWE2012.  It boasts the most comprehensive tasting of Kosher wines in north America with more than 200 wines from 40 wine producers as well as an extensive selection of kosher liquors.

Sponsored by Royal Wine Corp, the KFWE 2012 was sold out with close to 1,000 paying consumers who got to sample from the vast portfolio of Royal Wine Corp wines, featuring as well the best selection of Kosher food, liquors and wines in the world.

At the afternoon tasting, open only to trade professionals and press (me!) I was able to taste some of the newest wine & liquor products on the market like Morad Winery Danue Passion Fruit wine made from Passion Fruits (not grapes), rendering them a ‘shehakol’ wine was one of my favorites.  Tart and fruity it tasted like an exotic vodka mixed drink.  Its definitely going to grace my Purim table and make it into some of my upcoming Purim Mishloach Manot packages as well.  Speaking of Vodka, Distillery no 9 introduced its brand new Kosher for Passover and all year round Vodka today at the show as well. They kindly mixed it with some grapefruit juice for my late morning breakfast treat!   That’s me holding both the vodka & my drink at 12 noon today!

After all the alcohol, I found my way to Pomegranate.  Actually, they found me since their waiters were walking around with their delicious offerings.  I took pictures of as many trays as I could manage while still eating and drinking.  Pomegranate showed off their creative and award winning chefs with their home-made Corned Beef (I could use some more right now, please), signature dip bar and butcher block.  Some of the exclusive delights they were passing around featured some of the tastiest dishes I’ve ever had: Prosciutto, Tongue Polonaise, Wasabi Coconut Lamb Quenelles.  All from a grocery store!  One that is setting a new standard in the kosher market.  And lets not forget the marketing standard they set with their brilliant Yalili music video as well! Remember that?  I’m a fan of everything Pomegranate and will be giving myself a break this Passover when I order their Corned Beef, Tongue Polonaise and Wasabi Coconut Lamb Quenelles instead of attempting to cook anything nearly as good myself!  Hey, Ari, maybe you’ll send a few pound of these my way for the shout-out  :  )

There was a vast array of other culinary options that I was unable to sample since I came to the afternoon event (who could I possibly find to put 4 toddlers to bed for me so I could stay on…?).  But here are some of the delights the lucky 1,000 consumers and additional press & trade folks got to sample.  A selection of homemade Sushi from AviGlatt.com, Short Rib Sliders from Bistro 1310 of Borough Park, Barbecue Oxtail from etc. steakhouse of Teaneck, New Jersey (they are the one’s who won the KosherFest Cook-off a few months back), Jack’s Gourmet Mexican Style Chorizo sausages, JoBurg Dried Beef (Biltong) Carving Station, Le Marais Smoke Duck Breast,  Meat Me’s Peking Duck, Silverleaf Caterers Tiramisu Cake-Up, Sushein of Lower Manhattan’s Crispy Cake with kani & fresh tuna, The Reserve of Lakewood’s Seared Prime Beef.  Drooling yet?

Back to the wines.  Royal Wine Corp announced the first two wines from their newest kosher winery in the Pacific Northwest: Oregon Pinot Noir and a Washington Meritage.  Bartenura celebrated New York’s Big Blue superbowl win with a, you got it,  Big Blue Bottle of Bartenura Sparkling Moscato, all of course, featured at the KFWE.  And the nicest news, for sustainability enthusiasts and our environment is that Royal Wine Corp has gone “Green” with their newest solar power system on the roof of their New Jersey headquarters.   What’s not to like about this company!?

See you all next year at KFWE2013 – I’ve already booked my babysitter!

Check out my Facebook Page to see my live coverage of the event and in case you missed it, make sure you read my review of this past years’ KosherFest, 2011 as well.

Oprah’s Dinner With A Jewish Orthodox Family in Brooklyn: Video Clips

Have you heard the latest, coolest, rage?  The famous Oprah is on a quest to learn more about different cultures, lifestyles and spirituality.  Her first stop was none other than our very own!  Oprah’s Next Chapter, which is her newest TV series on her OWN TV Network went to visit a Hasidic/Chassidish family in Brooklyn, NY.

The Ginsberg family, Shterna, Aron and their nine children, invited Oprah to join  them for a traditional Jewish meal of gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, potato  kugel and challah bread. During the meal, Oprah asks the children about growing  up without television and test their pop culture knowledge. Plus, Shterna and  Oprah share an aha! moment.

Watch the clip here: http://www.oprah.com/own-oprahs-next-chapter/Oprahs-Dinner-With-a-Hasidic-Family-Video#ixzz1mHMg3U99

What are your thoughts?  Did Oprah get an accurate experience?