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Thursday, 30 January 2014

A LEGACY of LETTERS (cont'd) . . . and the BEST FISH ever!

Jan 31st 1983
I got most welcome letter on Sat, I thank you so much as I didn’t expect it as you are busy now.

You wrote that you may build a house, first see how much the lots will cost as some say they are more than a house.

I got a letter and a parcel from Stasia on Sat too. 
 I sent today to Ukraine the shawls you brought at Christmas. 
It’s a big difference sending it in big envelopes than in a box, it cost me less for the two parcels than I paid in April for one.  I even wrote them that I am not sending no more, they be surprised when they get it.
I have finished three cushions to embroider and that runner I bought when I was at your place.  But still got to do three more and that picture Karen gave.  I hope it’s not complicated but it’s wool thread so I think it is crewel embroidery, so are the cushions I bought.  I embroider that in the evenings and try to do Ukrainian cross stitch in day time.  I still knit sometimes, I have always started ones to do when I can’t embroider.

We planning to paint the house in and outside this year.  I will have to wash the inside, will likely start when days get longer.

Dad is not well, the head seems to ache all the time, even the pills don’t help, tonight he’s warming it with hot water bottle.  And his stomach always bloats up so he had to go to get his medicine.

Donald been fishing a lot lately, the fish been catching good, he gave us a lot, I forget the name but they always small.  Oh perch. 

                            Diana will be coming back on Sunday.

Oh the cousins want black or wine velveteen, I can’t get here, you see if there is any or phone fabric places, just see if there is any, don’t buy, when I be down I will get it if there is any as Mrs. Feuillatre couldn’t get any in Winnipeg.

God bless you all.
Aline’s mother, Mrs. Feuillatre, with grandson, Nick


I remember Mom and Dad at the stove and fish, dredged in well-seasoned flour . . . then served, beautifully brown and still sizzling, straight out of the frying pan and into a plate held up by each of us kids in turn . . .   .   
Sprinkled it with vinegar . . . and, soon as it was gone, you lined up for another piece!


The house lot we found backed onto a park :)


P.S. Today, we marinated halibut for only one hour in a lime juice,  oil, and hot pepper mixture
and then grilled it for 5 minutes on each side until it Pwas barely done. 
Result:  not impressive.  A tough, dry exterior with no notable BBQ flavour.   Next time should be Mom & Dad’s way!

P.S.  About the photo of our relatives in Ukraine, Vern is in the back row.  It was his 2nd trip to Ukraine.
Oksana says it was taken about 20 years ago.  " I was 15 on this picture...Serg is standing behind all on the left. My younger brother Petryk in red pants is in the center on front of me."

Friday, 24 January 2014

CHINESE TREASURE SOUP . . . inspired by a letter from Mom

Jan 24th 1983
It’s a while since I wrote to you so I have free time as I was embroidering cushions and got tired of that and besides my eyes are sore. 

I have finished 2 cushion tops already and I am on a third. 
Aline traced them from my old cushion top with heads of a deer and baby deer head.
            I may get her to do one more so I could have two pairs.

            I am going in tonight with Karen to take more lessons on Ukrainian cross stitch and tomorrow I have to go see the doctor, I don’t like this one.
            Last week Mervin Presniak’s burned down, today they are moving to Lornie’s place, yesterday the women were cleaning the house.

David’s birthday was yesterday so on Sat. I bought him a special card for Grandson.

  Dad got more pills for his head but says they don’t help him.  Dad been complaining if not one thing then another.
            I been knitting mitts but not always, it’s only when I am out of work.  I be at all summer the way I am going and besides which were small, now they need men’s size.
            I am all better, before I had to go to bed for a while after each meal, now don’t rest in afternoon but I still stay in bed in the morning.

                                     I sent the pictures Stasia wanted on Sat.
            I haven’t written to Nestor for a while, will get around soon.

                                            Diana going to Vancouver on Jun 28.


At 4 o’clock Dad watches Steven Yan cooking Chinese dishes.  But I haven’t been doing any.

 The priest has visited us Jan 21st, he goes then from house to house, he sprinkles the holy water so we should be all right now, ha, ha.
            There is church this coming Sunday but Dad says we may not go as we were to church two times this month.
            I am sending in for transfers for tea-towels.  May do some for Christmas presents.
            I haven’t sent the kerchiefs to Ukraine.  I am still debating whether to send the two of them or send one and it’s a problem to send one, Dad says to get her the velvet which she wants. 
            May your days be all bright and lot of happiness.


It made me smile when I read about Dad watching Steven Yan cooking on TV. 
I don’t think there’s anyone in our family who doesn’t love Chinese food.

Donald and Karen often go on Sundays to the Chinese smorgasbord in Russell. 
We’ve also enjoyed dinners with them in Birtle’s Chinese restaurant. 

In Neepawa, we had good Chinese food with Helen and her sister, Lily.

So here’s another good Chinese recipe for you to try.

EIGHT-TREASURE SOUP (I’ve eliminated one of the ingredients so this recipe is really for Seven-Treasure Soup J)

-      Based on Kenneth Lo’s recipe in The Encyclopedia of Regional Chinese Cooking

5 cups chicken stock
8 ounces chicken breast
4 ounces lean raw pork
2 ounces lettuce
4 ounces spinach
350 g medium tofu
2 tomatoes
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ cup pickled (preserved) bamboo shoots
¼ tsp chilli garlic sauce (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp pepper
1 egg
1 green onion

·        Finely slice the chicken breast and set aside.
·        Finely slice the pork and add to the chicken.
·        Finely slice the lettuce and set aside on a different plate.
·        Finely slice the spinach and add to the lettuce.
·        Cut the tofu into small cubes and set aside.
·        Chop the tomatoes into small cubes.
·        Measure out the bamboo shoots and set aside.
·        Finely chop the green onion and set aside for garnish.
·        Bring the stock to the boil with the pepper.
·        Add chicken and pork and cook for 2 minutes.
·        Add the lettuce, spinach, tofu, tomatoes, soy sauce, and bamboo shoots.  Cook for 1 minute.
·        Add salt to taste.
·        Beat the egg.  Stir into the soup.
·        Serve immediately garnished with the green onions. 

P.S.  The baby leaning on Aline’s deer-embroidered cushions – that was George and Aline’s son, Nick.

P.P.S.  A blue cross-stitched quilt is only one of several Mom made as gifts.  In particular, I remember one done mostly in red.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Marilyn's Day

Happy Birthday, Marilyn!

I hope to see you sometime this year. . .

maybe at a Family Camping Get Together?!?

As you noted yourself:

September, 2013

– Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.


"The Bond Babies", January 2013

A new home for Vesper 

More Early Days

One of my first walks with Vesper

 Now, Vesper comes along on many of our long, daily walks to McDonald’s.

We take along this cosy bed and blanket on colder days.

But Vesper has always preferred walks where she can smell the flowers

And go off-leash.

Even camping is fun . . .
But some tents are just too complicated.

Now, Vesper's a year old.

On her birthday hike, Vesper zoomed around off-leash 
on the way to a waterfall.
I had fun, too.

A cheeseburger crown for Vesper’s Birthday Dinner

And Frozen Vanilla Yogurt for her Dessert!

She's really good at opening presents . . .

This one was from Diana  :)


The Vesper Cocktail J


Vesper’s burger was simply ½ pound of ground beef grilled and topped with cheese.  The humans are at her party also had burgers but  “cumin-scented” and “spiked with fresh mint”. J


            from Chatelaine Magazine:  August 1997:  This is a great recipe for using up whatever mint you have. J  I made these burgers once with a cup of chopped mint.  This time I had only 1/3 cup but that was very good, too.    

Ingredients for Burgers
1 bunch fresh mint (1/3 cup to a cup chopped)
1 pound ground beef
4 to 6 ounces onion
2 garlic cloves
½  jalapeno pepper  
1 egg
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne
4 hamburger buns
Cheddar cheese
Dill pickles
Prepared Mustards

Ingredients for Sauce
½ cup plain yogurt
½ jalapeno pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt

1.    Chop mint leaves.  Set aside in medium sized bowl.
2.   Finely chop garlic.  Add to the mint leaves.
3.   Finely chop onion.  Add to the mint leaves.
4.   Divide jalapeno in half.  Discard seeds.  Finely chop one half and set aside on a plate.  Finely chop the other half and add to the mint leaves.
5.    Set up the table so that everyone can help themselves to:
-      Washed and dried lettuce.
-      Sliced pickles
-      Sliced tomato.
-      Mustard and Ketchup.
6.    Prepare Sauce: Mix together yogurt, ½ diced jalapeno, lemon juice, and salt.  Set aside in fridge or on table.
7.   Preheat broiler.
8.   In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, egg, cumin, salt, and cayenne, mint, onion, and garlic.
9.   Shape into patties.  Place on grill pan.
10.                Slice cheese to top the burgers and set aside.
11.  Slice buns and set on baking sheet.
12.                 Broil meat until browned (about 4 minutes).  Turn over and broil 2 to 4 minutes longer until cooked through.
13.                Toast buns under broiler.
14.                Arrange cheese on meat patties and broil until melted.
15.                Serve.  Don’t forget the yogurt!

With Foxy . . .    "Daw", by the way, was one of the first words, our daughter uttered.

Saturday, 11 January 2014


Jan 11th 1983
            I am washing today so thought I would write you.  

We are fine,

Dad had dizzy spells last week, now he is not taking one kind of pills as two kinds made him dizzy.

  I started on one of my kind of embroidery, the Ukrainian cross stitch, only a sample to see if I can do it.  I won’t know till almost I be finished that piece.

            Karen was down Sunday evening,  she has a cold or rather a flu, she’s been sick for a week, so many have the flu around here, 

                                       Naomi been sick for over a week too.

George went to Winnipeg alone to see the doctor, Aline said he didn’t want no one to go with him.  He was going to spend the night with Diana & Bill, he’s to come home today.  Dad & me went Sunday to see George but he was not home, he went to a hockey. 

Aline been carolling with Angusville women of Sat.  I don’t know when she baked up all the fancy baking, she even had holoptsy.  I guess the kids there are like Frank Magnowskis, they don’t want other’s cooking when their mother cooks up everything fancy.  One time Ronny Magnowski was down and I asked if he will have cake that Stasia had made, 

he said only if it’s chiffon with 7 minute icing.


We had two sets of carollers on Friday, the Catholic women praised the big picture of us.  Matt taped both carols, they didn't know.

There was a good T.V. picture of Ukraine, one man went to see his relatives and all over on a tour, it was very nice, I don’t know how he got the film, you maybe saw it, it was Sunday 9th.
            I got myself Chatelaine and there was 2 cushion tops and backs and yarn to embroider, they cost $24.95 each, I sent for them and may finish them for Christmas presents and the inside pillows I still got to make or buy, that will be $4.50 more, the cushions are not cheap now.
            The Hutterites sell bed pillows $25.00 each.  I thought a pair but Matt said it’s not.
            Matt sold all his cattle yesterday, only left one steer to kill.  He said he may buy some white ones.

Donald & David went fishing last Thursday with Nelson Shwaluk.  St. Lazare way and Nelson ran into a tree, David had few small cuts on head and Donald had a cut by the eye and a black eye.  They are fine now but the car got a bit of damage.

            I got up today with a cold, took some 222s and feeling fine.
            We were to church on Jan 7th Christmas Day and there is church Jan 19th, we may go then and I will look at Ukrainian tablecloths, if they have a big one I may buy it. 

              I have no more to write so I will close with best wishes for good health and best of luck.


I don’t like “Seven Minute Frosting” but I almost agree with Ron M. that chiffon cakes are a cut above the rest.  So I had a look at my cookbooks and found one that I had marked as “very good” in 2005. 

      From Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Topping Ingredients:
Can crushed pineapple:  Put this in fridge to chill ahead of time.
2 cups whipping cream

Cake Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup salad oil
5 egg yolks
¾ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
½ tsp cream of tartar
1 cup (8) egg whites.

1.      Preheat oven to 325.
2.     Sift dry ingredients into large mixing bowl. 
3.     Add salad oil, egg yolks, and pineapple juice.  Beat until smooth.
4.     In another large mixing bowl, beat together egg whites and cream of tartar.  Lift beaters to check for very stiff peaks. 
5.     Pour batter over egg whites, folding gently to blend.
6.     Pour into ungreased 10-inch tube pan. 
7.     Bake for 65 minutes.  (If top blackens, just cut that part off.)
8.     Invert and cool.
9.     Prepare Topping:  Thoroughly drain 2 ½ cups crushed pineapple.   Whip the cream.  Fold pineapple into cream.
10.                         Split cooled cake in 2 layers.  Fill with some Pineapple-whip Topping and frost with remainder.

*I’ll make this again this year and then I’ll add a picture. J  Sounds good, doesn’t it!