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Friday, 26 July 2013


Steven, Anastasia, Stuart, Eleanor (1976)

Stuart is a great cook, which is hardly surprising given that his mother, Anastasia, is the FIRST FOODIE in the family.

Even as a teen, Stuart enjoyed children, and now he loves being a dad.

The secret, I think, to raising future foodies is to introduce as wide a variety of foods as possible to kids.  Make it available to them and encourage them to taste it but never force them to eat it.

Here’s a Ukrainian heritage recipe your kids might enjoy, Stuart:


(The corn meal makes it substantial enough when served with side dishes.)

From Ukrainian Cuisine  published by Technika in Kiev, 1975

1 tbsp parsley
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sweet cream
½ cup corn meal
4 eggs
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 tbsp butter

1.     Mince the parsley and set aside.
2.     Vigorously stir sour cream to make it less stiff.
3.     Blend the sweet cream into the sour cream.
4.     Stir the corn meal into the cream mixture.
5.     Beat together the eggs, salt, and pepper.
6.     Stir the corn meal, parsley, and cream into the eggs.
7.     Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
8.      Pour the egg mixture into the pan. 
9.     Keep lifting the eggs as they set to allow the runny part to go in underneath.
10.                          When only the top still is wet, cut the omelet into quarters and flip over for just a few seconds. 

Fluffy Omelet

For a brunch or light supper, serve with a salad, bacon, and another side dish (such as French-fried mushrooms):

Happy Birthday, Stuart!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

POTATOES from DONALD . . . Lezhni Kartoplyani

My brother Donald has always been a tease.

One of my first memories is of laughing and running from Donald in one door way to George in another doorway and not being allowed through.

In 1955, when Donald was away somewhere working, I wrote him that my 9th birthday was coming soon, and he brought me my first watch, a really nice gold-plated Gruen.  He still teases me about that!

Here Donald’s teasing my daughter with the I-got-your-nose trick.

We just visited him and Karen so Donald asked me if I’d like some potatoes for making perogies.  Naturally, I said yes!

But instead I’m going to make one of Bohdan Zahny’s recipes:


1 pound potatoes
4 eggs 
1/3 cup flour  :  What do you do with this, Bohdan?
½ pound sauerkraut
1 onion
¼ pound salt pork
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup sour cream

1.      Boil potatoes in salted water.
2.     Peel potatoes and mash.
3.     Mix in eggs.
4.     Put mixture on floured surface and pat into rectangle.
5.     Simmer sauerkraut in a saucepan for 15 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper.  Drain.
6.     Preheat oven to 350.
7.     Chop onion and salt pork.  Brown them together.
8.     Add onion & pork to drained sauerkraut.
9.     Spread sauerkraut filling over potatoes to within 1 inch of edges.
10.                          Roll up and brush with melted fat.
11.                          Transfer to greased baking pan.
12.                          Bake for 30 minutes.
13.                          Serve with sour cream.

I’ll let you know how it works out.  J



            The roulade was really good.  I served it with chicken, salad, and corn.
As usual, though, Bohdan’s recipe needed tweaking.  4 eggs is WAY too much; I left out one and the potatoes were still too mushy.  Also, he didn’t say, but the 1/3 cup of flour should be mixed into the potatoes.  Anyway, here’s the revised recipe:


1 pound potatoes
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flour
½ pound sauerkraut
1 onion
¼ pound salt pork
¼ tsp pepper

*Sour cream is optional.  You can put a small dollop on the finished potatoes, or not.

1.      Boil unpeeled potatoes in 3 cups of water with 1 tsp salt.  (No more salt will be used in this recipe.)
2.     Peel potatoes and mash.
3.     Beat 2 eggs and mix into the potatoes.  Also mix in 1/3 cup flour.

4.     Put mixture on floured surface and pat into rectangle.  (I had to heavily flour the counter and the top of the potatoes because the potatoes were so mushy, but if you use only 2 eggs, you probably won’t need so much flour.)

5.     Simmer sauerkraut in a saucepan for 15 minutes.  Season with pepper.  Drain if necessary.  (I had only a small amount of sauerkraut juice in the saucepan so it cooked away.)
6.     Preheat oven to 350.
7.     Chop onion and salt pork.  Brown them together.
8.     Add onion & pork to drained sauerkraut.

9.     Spread sauerkraut filling over potatoes to within 1 inch of edges.
10.                          Roll up and brush with melted fat. (I used bacon fat.)

11.                          Transfer to greased baking pan.  (I had to cut the roulade in half to move it.)

12.                          Bake for 30 minutes.

                         Serve with sour cream.  Optional but very good!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

The FOLKS back home . . .

Visits to my farm relatives are always fun and full of surprises.


 At George and Aline’s, there are three large new aquariums . . .

and tiny tanks for the baby fish (they’ll be sold & shipped away!)

Here’s George playing with his pup, Kip.

Nicholas arrives on his quad.

Browsing through Aline’s photos, I found this lovely picture of Aline’s grandma.

But only one picture of Aline!  (the fate of the photographer)

So I took a lot of pictures!


At Donald & Karen’s we played with Karen’s cat, Jinx.  She just loves to be petted.

Donald has put in a farm-size garden.

They gave us some of their tomatoes and potatoes to take home!

Sadly, Karen and Donald have had to say good-bye to their funny little dog, Zeuss.


No visit to Manitoba would be complete without popping in on Crystal and the boys!  

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


            It sounded really weird to me when Kathy wished Diana, Bryan, and me a good trip east, but then I realized that, to British Columbians, a trip to every other province is actually a Trip East.

            Our first stop was in Golden where we enjoyed a walk in the Old Town Centre, Chinese Salt and Pepper Squid, and a 3-D movie.

            Next up was Calgary where, first, Serge, Daniela, and Andrew made the three of us feel at home.   

While Serge barbecued steaks and Daniela worked on a Russian salad and perogies à la Brazil, I got to play with Andrew

            and Bryan got to nap.

Thank you all so much. We had a wonderful visit and lunch and enjoyed seeing all the renos on your townhouse!

Andrew is just a year old and already can say Hi, mama, doggy, and Daddy.  He also understands when Serge speaks Ukrainian, Daniela speaks Portuguese, and all the rest of us speak English!


Our next stop was an overnight at Marilyn and Bill’s.

No sooner had we arrived than I had another glass of wine in one hand and one of Sora’s delicious meatball appetizers in another.   

More tempting appetizers!

Somehow I never seemed to find the bottom of my wineglass.  Meanwhile, the wonderful food kept coming:   Jonathan’s stuffed pork tenderloin and Bill’s smoky dark baked beans and, 

                                 Marilyn’s delicious rhubarb and strawberry pie.

Thank goodness we went for a walk before bed!

Then, for breakfast, there were Bill's incredible Cinnamon-Raisin scones 

and Marilyn's Pork Breakfast Patties!


Serge, Daniela, Andrew, Marilyn, Bill, Jonathan, Sora, and Sofia – all I can say is . . .


We’ll be back!

Come Tempest or Tornado!

Well, maybe not tornado.   I finally got Bryan to pull over when Aline told me on the phone that the Russell/Birtle area was under a Tornado Watch.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Too worried:  Revenge Wears Prada:  The Devil Returns
by Lauren Weisberger

Too much core:  Star Trek:  Into Darkness

Too sweet:  Fannie Farmer’s Burnt Sugar Cake with Penuche Frosting


Monday, 8 July 2013



                                   My grand-nephew, Nathan, grade 2, in 2011

Nathan’s birthday is being celebrated on the family camping trip that his mother, Crystal, has been anticipating and preparing for:
Back , on June 8th, Crystal wrote:

 finished up my jerky in the smoker today (for holidays).  Defrosted on Tuesday, sliced it all and got into seasoning & cure on Wednesday, smoked it all day yesterday, and finished it up today. 4 days of making it for it to last 2 days of camping! anyone else see something wrong with this picture??? and of course the boys & Dave had to "taste test" some of it yesterday. Dear God, let this survive until we go camping in a month!
(might have to hide it way at the bottom of the freezer that has the pad lock on it)?

Then, a few days ago, Crystal noted:

camper is all packed, except for fruits & veggies. (that will be Friday afternoon), and Dave's clothes....which he can be in charge of, that way if there's anything he forgot, it's NOT MY FAULT!! 
Getting food, and clothes for myself and the boys is enough for me to remember. Then we'll add on the toys and other crap like cooking utensils and propane that we need and "MY BRAIN IS ON OVERLOAD'!!!! all for a good reason, and am soooo looking forward to 10 days to spend with my kids! Summer Holidays really need to happen more than once a year. 

Now, they’re away on their holiday and having a wonderful time, I'm sure! 

If you have any campfire marshmallows left over when you get back home, Crystal, here’s a great recipe that I’m sure all of you would enjoy:


2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 cups milk
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
6 slices white bread
4 to 8 ounces marshmallows (cut large ones in half)
Vanilla Ice Cream

·        Cut bread slices in half.
·        Cut marshmallows in half.

·        Preheat oven to 350.
·        Bring water to a boil in a teakettle.
·        Grease a casserole dish.
·        Set out another casserole or 9x13 pan that is big enough to hold the first casserole dish.

·        Melt chocolate in the milk in a saucepan over low heat.  Set aside to cool.
·        Lightly beat the 2 eggs with the sugar, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl.
·        Line the greased casserole with half the bread slices.
·        Place half the marshmallows on the bread.
·        Make another layer with the rest of the bread.
·        Top with the remaining marshmallows.
·        Slowly combine the chocolate milk mixture with the egg mixture.
·        Pour chocolate mixture over the bread and marshmallows.
·        Set casserole into the other pan and pour boiling water around it.
·        Bake for an hour.

The resulting pudding doesn’t look great (especially if you forget the second layer of marshmallows!) but it will look much better and taste fantastic when you serve it hot with vanilla ice cream.  J

Sunday, 7 July 2013


             Two special birthdays for July :

Happy Birthday to my niece, Tracey
(high school photo)

Gedo Leschyshyn


The Ivana Kupala Festival is celebrated in Ukraine on July 7.  Lonely Planet says that in pagan times “Kupala was the god of love and fertility and young people would choose a marriage partner on this eve.”

In 2004, Bryan, Nestor, Diana, and I joined a tour group, out of Saskatoon, and arrived in Kyiv on July 7. 

As we drove into the city I noticed people dressed for the festival but our tour director had made no plans to include it on our itinerary!  In fact, her idea was that we should all just go to bed.  (The tour director was a large young woman who could barely walk – she stumped along like an old white Shih Tzu.)

Nestor took charge.  First he scouted our bus driver who said he’d be very happy to drive the bus to the festival site on the river.  Pointing out that there were 2 tour buses, Nestor then announced that the other bus would take all the travel-weary tourists to the hotel while our bus would go to the festival.  J

Our fellow travellers were so timid, however, that we had to compromise.  It was agreed that we would leave the river by 9 pm.

Lonely Planet says the real place to see this festival is out in the country villages.

The festival begins with folk singing.

Boats on the river

The Kupala:  at the end of the evening she is set on fire:  unfortunately we missed this as it happens after 9 pm.

An offering for the Fire?



        Bohdan Zahny called it “Simple Soup”  (Prostanka Yushka)  but that’s misleading because this excellent soup has many different ingredients.

½ cup dry white beans
1 to 2 pounds pork ribs, cut up (enough so that each serving includes a rib)
12 cups vegetable stock or water
½ cup pot barley
½ cup yellow split peas (called Muttor dal in the Indian food section)
1 chopped onion
4 diced celery stalks
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp black pepper
3 carrots, diced
3 small potatoes, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (about 7 mushrooms)

1.      Put beans in a saucepan with enough water to cover them by 2 or 3 inches.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.   Cover pot and remove from heat.  Leave to sit for 1 hour.  Drain and add to the large soup pot immediately after you have finished skimming.  (see step below)  Important:  Do not let beans sit in hot soak water for more than one hour as they may sour.

2.     Put ribs in a large soup pot and add all the water.  Bring to a boil and skim.
3.      Add the beans, peas, barley, onion, salt, black pepper, and celery.
4.     Simmer for one hour.   Add additional salt if needed.
5.     Add potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms.  Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.