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Sunday, 31 March 2013


Maybelle’s day started with a long walk in her favourite park where she made frequent stops to take soil samples.  

 Beef, Cheese, and Brown Rice Birthday cake

New toy 

"An Aries born March 31 is symbolized by the Ram and has a strong personality and a great deal of charisma."  

Maybelle is competitive.

And insistent.

But affectionate.

And doing great at sharing her favourite person . . .

Happy Birthday, Maybelle!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


George, my brother, in his 20s

The children of homesteaders were pioneers right along with their parents.   Dad’s land was stony and my brothers put in a lot of time picking up rocks in the fields.   Regular farm chores started early in the morning with milking.  Often, the boys had to stay home from school to help; especially at harvest time.  In fact, the school year was often in jeopardy from the number of days missed.

On top of that, friends and relatives sometimes needed a hand.   Uncle Myron cut his hand at a sawmill – the saw blade was over a quarter of an inch and the cut was across the back of two fingers.  A doctor somehow saved those fingers, but Aunt Katie was doing a lot of chores and couldn’t do them all.

Myron and Katie  

George, who was not yet 14, went to stay at Uncle Myron’s and help out during the Christmas holidays.  Aunt Katie’s brother was cutting lumber for the Uncle Myron’s barn.  George would hitch up at 8 am and drive a sleigh to the reserve, pick up lumber, and drive back by 4 pm.  (He had company because Harry Dayday was driving another sleigh of cut wood for himself.)  Then George would help with the chores.  All the lumber for the barn got transported during those holidays.


George, I know you don’t like desserts, so here’s a savoury spread that’s really good hot or cold:

EGGPLANT SPREAD (Ikra z Baklazhana)

From Savella Stechishin’s Traditional Ukrainian Cookery

1 large eggplant
2 small onions
3 tbsp oil
4 tomatoes
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
1 ½ tsp salt (Savella suggests 2 tsps, so add the other ½ tsp, if you like salt)
½ tsp pepper

1.      In a Dutch oven, cover the eggplant with boiling water and cook for 20 minutes until tender.
2.     Chop the tomatoes. 
3.     Drain and cool the eggplant.
4.     Cut off the stem, peel, and chop finely.
5.     Chop the onions finely.  Sauté them in the oil until softened.
6.     Add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered, until thickened.
7.     Stir in eggplant and cook until fairly thick.
8.     Stir in the lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Refrigerate.
9.     Serve cold.

Savella suggested spreading this on canapés or using a relish with cold meat.  Both work. 

I also served it hot as a side dish.  But, my favourite, was when I served it cold alongside hot perogies.  That was fantastic!
P.S. Savella says that “Eggplant grows luxuriantly in the southern regions of Ukraine.   This spread, called ‘ikra’ (mock caviar) is a popular appetizer” in Ukraine.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


March 23 – March 26 :  some of the highlights: 

Kepler’s first hotel:  El Tropicano in San Antonio

 Riverwalk Excusion

 Nicole spotted the lizard; I was delighted.

 Happy Hour at Lüke’s:  oysters 50 cents each!!!! I had a dozen myself J  

We waited 45 minutes for an outdoor table on the Riverwalk:  
but it was a magical evening.

The next day, we drove to Austin.

Lunch at Lucy's Fried Chicken on College Ave.  Loved the food and the clientele.  One was an old, old woman sporting a Mohawk dyed red.

  Happy Hour: the cool waiter greeted us with, “Beautiful baby.  But it was time to get out of the house.”

 I loved how the old sewing machines were made into tables.

The next day:

At the Sway for an unusual and utterly delicious lunch .

After that, it’s Kepler’s turn, al fresco, in the park.

Turtles, the size of dinner plates, sunning themselves above the lake in the park.  

 Outstanding dinner at the Parkside Restaurant: 
 here grilled sweetbreads and  raw bass with avocado followed later by kale salad and marrow bones!
For dessert:  I totally recommend their Garam Masala Doughnuts with Date Ice Cream:  fantastic!

Breakfast!  A peanut butter and grape jelly doughnut . . . or    
A chocolate, coconut, and cream one.

And then it was time to hit the road home to Laredo.

Kepler slept all the way.

It's good to be back.

Friday, 22 March 2013

CHOCOLATE MINUTE TAPIOCA . . . back to the early 60s

What are a few of the things Kepler can look forward to?

His dad’s music

Playing with Maybelle

His mom’s Korean soups

His grandma’s retro puddings for breakfast


            from:  Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, (Nicole found this cookbook; it looks like an older edition than mine:  She said, “I picked it up because it made me think of you.” . . . Thanks, Nicole.  J)

2 one-ounce squares, unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs, separated
4 cups milk
½ cup minute tapioca
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1  tsp vanilla
Small carton Whipping cream

·        Whip the cream and set aside in fridge.
·        Grate the chocolate.
·        In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
·        In a small bowl, beat egg yolks slightly.
·        Heat milk in a large saucepan to scalding.
·        Whisk a little warmed milk into the beaten egg yolks.  Then whisk more .
·        Stir sugar, tapioca,  and salt into hot milk.
·        Whisk in the egg yolks- milk mixture.
·        Keep stirring and bring pot to a boil quickly.
·        Whisk hot mixture into the beaten egg whites.
·        Stir in vanilla.
·        Pour into a large bowl or into individual serving dishes. 
·        Serve warm with dollops of whipping cream. 

LEFTOVERS:  Reheat in microwave for breakfast.  This pudding is not as good if it is cold.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

IRELAND, Ballymaloe, and Mary Stadnyk's Letter, March 17, 1983

It seems like a long time since I wrote to you so thought I should write again.  I wrote to Diana yesterday, I finished her apron yesterday so thought I should send it so I wrote too.

            I got a letter from Florence yesterday, it was nice to hear from her, she writes nice letters.  I washed bedroom floors yesterday and today I am only writing.  I wrote to Florence, she wanted addresses to our cousins in Ukraine as she lost hers.

            Karen today cooking Irish Stew with all the rest church women, they will have St. Patrick supper tonight.   

I don’t go no place this last while as I got the incubator set.

            Since Monday my eyes haven’t been good, something filmed one eye and the other teared but they are much better today, only one still tears.  I must of caught a cold so I haven’t been doing any embroidery these days but there was a lot of other work to do. 


It was a long climb up the hill to this beautiful, lonely, ancient burial site in Ireland.

I’m using The Ballymaloe Cookbook by Myrtle Allen for tonight’s dinner. 
           (The Allens have a restaurant and hotel in Cork, Ireland.) 

Here’s Myrtle's Coleslaw:

 and her yummy LAMB CHOPS:


Kepler's having a quiet St. Patrick's Day.  

Saturday, 16 March 2013


Nursery Rhymes put Kepler so sweetly to sleep.  Today, there was that strange verse about Georgy Porgy, pudding and pie . . . 

Coincidentally, I had just finished making a Fruit Flan for dessert – pudding and pie!

            from:  THE MAGIC of JELLO

1 cup flour
2 tbsp icing sugar
½ cup softened butter

·        Preheat oven to 425.
·        Mix flour, butter, and sugar together in food processor.
·        Turn into 9 inch pie plate or flan and press onto sides and bottom.
·        Bake for 10 minutes until golden.
·        Cool.


1 pkg (6 serving size) Jello Vanilla Pudding
2 ½ cups cold milk (not 3 cups as in the directions or the pudding will be too soft)

1 can fruit salad, drained

1/3 cup apricot jam
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange liqueur  (or orange juice)

Whipping cream

·        Prepare pudding  as directed on package but with only 2 ½ cups milk.  Press plastic wrap onto surface.  Chill 30 minutes.
·        Drain fruit salad.
·        Whisk chilled pudding and pour into shell.
·         Arrange fruit on top of pudding.
·        Stir lemon juice and liqueur into apricot jam and melt slowly over low heat.
·        Spoon over fruit.  Chill.
·        Whip cream.
·        Serve flan with dollops of whipped cream on the side.

This was soooo easy to make!  I tried to make a fruit flan years ago, but all the strawberries sank to the bottom of my made-from-scratch vanilla pudding.  L

The butter crust was delicious but did not hold up well when I lifted it.
Nicole said she liked the Flan, but not as much as Peanut Butter Grape Jello Pie: 


By the way, it's 31 degrees C in Laredo right now.   I just took Maybelle for a walk but there's a shady colonnade nearby and we pretty much stuck to it.  

Hard for me to imagine, but, back in Manitoba, Crystal says: 

10 to 20 cm possible over Southwestern Manitoba by late Sunday. In addition to the snow, gusty northwesterly winds in the wake of the disturbance will create some reduced visibilities in blowing or drifting snow late Sunday night.

(said no one EVER)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


 Now thar’s a title t' set yer tastebuds a-tinglin’.

And the recipe worked for me. . . apart from asking for too much flour but that almost goes without saying.

The bread though was underwhelming – nice, but . . . nothing out of the ordinary . . .

What was super great tonight?

Kepler sleeping like an angel while we ate

Nicole’s lettuce wraps stuffed with stir-fried turkey, red cabbage, bamboo shoots, cilantro, garlic, etc.  

Nicole's fluffy Southern 4 layer Coconut Cake!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Silvia Kalvik says that in Estonia:

            When a baby was born, mothers of other families paid a call on the new mother and her baby.  Only married women with children of their own were allowed to go.  In olden times, porridge and a loaf of pure (i.e. not mixed with chaff) rye, barley, or wheat bread was taken along.


WHEATEN PIE stuffed with Salt Pork and Onions

½ tsp sugar
¼ cup warm water
2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 ½ tbsp softened butter
½ tsp salt
2 ¾ cups wholewheat flour (plus more for sprinkling on work surface when                                                                         kneading)

1/2 pound salt pork
Onions: unspecified amount . . . so I’m putting in 8 ounces

·        Cut meat into small cubes.
·        Chop the onions.
·        Fry together.  (I used 1 tbsp bacon fat.)

I also added 2 sliced hardboiled eggs to the filling because that is a common ingredient in most of the other fillings. 

Verdict:  This is like an Estonian version of a calzone but the pastry is almost too hard to saw through.  Nicole thought the salt pork was gelatinous (myself, I liked that) and the egg was too dry.  Well, I just can’t recommend this.  L

P. S.  I had a small slice for breakfast the next morning and quite liked it.  Most people would discard the thick outer edges but . . .
     Silvia tells us that in Estonia "Bread as the main item of food was treated reverentially. . . . If a child happened to drop a slice of bread, he had to pick it up and kiss it."

Estonian Proverb "Have respect for bread -- bread is older than us."

The chapter on "The Eating Habits of the Estonians" gave me the best understanding I've ever had of the scarcity of food endured by people employed as peasants. Coarse black bread may not sound great to some but, most of us actually enjoy the dark ryes in bakeries.  What would you think, however, of 'chaff bread'? Chaff bread "was black and brittle like peat. . . . so brittle that, when eaten, it crumbled and was blown away by the wind."
     If that's not bad enough, what about this:
"During the years of crop failure there was not enough chaff to go around, therefore hazel-tree catkins, acorns, moss, heather and ferns were used to supplement bread grain.  In spring, even bread like that was scarce . . . "