I just love hearing about all kinds of holiday celebrations. We celebrate Solstice and Christmas in our house. My guest today, Jennifer Wilck, celebrates Hanukkah. Jennifer is a returning guest blogger and always has an interesting post. This one is sure to meet your holiday expectations. Read to the end...I coerced Jennifer into sharing her recipe.
In our house, we celebrate Hanukkah. Through the years, many things about our celebration have changed. When the kids were young, we of course made a big deal about the holiday. We’d play music, serve latkes (potato pancakes), play dreidel and on a few of the eight nights, give presents. As the kids have gotten older, our traditions have changed.
The entire family gets together one night to exchange gifts with the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We all bring our menorahs—candelabras with room for nine candles—and we take big group photos of everyone lighting the candles.
We get together with friends one night and our photos over the years show how much the kids have grown (and how willing or unwilling they are now to smile).
One of the eight nights is dedicated to giving back. Instead of presents for ourselves, we donate to a charity. Some years we’ve made blankets and quilts for our local animal shelter. Other years we’ve sent money to a charity we all agree on—a small miracle in and of itself, since we rarely all can agree on anything. Once when the kids were little, we went to the toy store, bought toys and games for kids who didn’t have any, and brought them to a local preschool.
My specialty for Hanukkah is making fried Oreos. The holiday celebrates the miracle of the oil
lasting for eight nights, so our traditional foods are those made with lots of oil, like donuts. Several years ago, my husband and I went to a county fair in the summer and had fried Oreos. We loved them, and since they are deep fried, they fit the holiday perfectly. I found a recipe online to make them and ever since then, family and friends have demanded them every year.
Now that my daughters are away at college, I mail their gifts early, trying to figure out the exact right time so that everything arrives on time and we can celebrate with them over FaceTime. Technology is terrific for that, but I confess to missing having them home and celebrating in person.
So whatever you celebrate, and however you do so, I wish you and your family happy and healthy times together!
Benjamin Cohen, widowed father of six-year-old Jessie, is doing his best to hold it together through order and routine. The last thing he needs is his matchmaker mother to set him up with her next door neighbor, no matter how attractive she is.
Rachel Schaecter's dream of becoming a foster mother is right within her grasp, until her meddlesome neighbor tries to set her up with her handsome son. What's worse? He's the father of her favorite kindergarten student! She can't afford to let anything come between her and her dream, no matter how gorgeous he may be.
Can these two determined people trust in the miracle of Hanukkah to let love and light into their lives?
Six-year-old bodies were good at many things— bouncing, hugging, and racing. Rachel was thankful they were also good at hiding her surprise. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine her favorite student, and her student’s father, would be at her neighbor’s house the same night she was invited to celebrate Hanukkah.
She met the hard gaze of Jessie’s father across the room. Eyes narrowed as if he suspected her reasons for being here. His broad shoulders were stiff. His jean-clad muscular legs were spread apart in a solid stance. Square hands fisted at his sides, and one of them held a menorah. Did he plan to throw it or club someone with it?
Giving Jessie a last pat, she rose. With an arm around Jessie, she extended her other hand to her father. “Happy Hanukkah.”
“Oh, please,” Harriet said, “Such formality between you two. Rachel, this is my son Benny. I mean Benjamin.”
Benny. Rachel filed the information away for later, along with his flushed skin at the nickname. Interesting.
“And Benjamin, this is my neighbor, Rachel. We’re not at a school event. You can call each other by your first names.” Harriet pointed at Jessie, who gripped Rachel’s hand so hard, Rachel’s fingers lost their circulation. “Except for you,” Harriet added. “You have to call her Ms. Schaecter.”
Jessie giggled. “Yes, Grandma.”
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/waiting-for-a-miracle-jennifer-wilck/1134117349?ean=2940161018385
1 package Oreo cookies
2 cups Bisquick pancake mix
1.5 cups milk
3 teaspoons oil
vegetable oil for deep frying
Blend Bisquick, eggs, milk and 3 tsp oil until smooth.
Preheat deep fryer to 375 (use a candy thermometer if frying in a pan).
Dip the cookies in the batter mixture until totally covered. Place in the hot oil (cookies will float).
Keep checking and turn over the cookie when bottom side turns brown.
Keep a close watch because it only takes a few seconds to burn.
Remove cookies and place on paper towel.
Serve warm, with powdered sugar, chocolate syrup or ice cream.
Now, about that novella. Jessie, the six-year-old daughter of my hero, Benjamin, would LOVE this recipe. She likes everything about Hanukkah, especially when she gets to celebrate it with her grandmother, who also happens to be the neighbor of her kindergarten teacher, Rachel. Harriet, the grandmother, wants her son to be happy, and thinks Rachel is the perfect one to make that happen. Benjamin isn’t so sure he’s ready to start dating again, after the death of his wife. Rachel isn’t sure about it either. Not only is Jessie her student, but she’s hoping to foster a child in the new year, and doesn’t want anything to interfere with her plans.
I won’t tell you anymore, but if you’re looking for a short, funny and sweet read, this story is for you.
Let me know how you like it, and also, let me know if you try my recipe!