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Saturday, 29 November 2014

American Thanksgiving . . . in Laredo

Right in the middle of the chaos of settling into her new home, Nicole made us a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner . . .

Brined Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Creamed Pearl Onions, and Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Since I especially liked the texture of the Graham Wafer crust for the cheesecake, I asked Nicole for the recipe.  According to her it was simple:  
Instead of pureeing the crumbs in the food processor I just bashed the graham crackers with a pan.

“Love is the shining star . . . the root of peace,
The lasting lamp”
                                       Elizabeth Cary (1585-1639)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A letter from Mary Stadnyk to Diana . . . and a Dessert for CHRISTMAS

To Diana:  

                                                          Nov. 23, 1996:  From Saskatoon:  45 cent stamp

Thanks for all the letters which I have not answered as I was busy getting things ready to send away for Christmas.  But I thought going out in cold that I need my navy feather filled big jacket but don’t worry if you can’t send.  I got this idea you said that you have 6 bags of clothing & stuff if I am right if you could tape sort of  + cross way and tie good if you don’t mind just call the grey hound they pick up but don’t have to be delivered here but if you do so they do.  I will send you a 50.00 cheque and you cash & pay them or if they do collect I pay at this end. I would appreciate it very much but the fur coat you could bring when you come for Christmas or send later.

It snowed quite a bit here this week but its not so cold today I went out to a big thrifty sale of new furniture at a good price so I bought shelfs only Bryan has to put it up its nice tall one about 5 feet. So I will be able to put all the books & magasines but I left all my magazines at Vancouver wishing now that I didn’t 

I hope I get my cards & Parcels & letters all done next week. 

I bought today ½ foam for cushions that are good for car seats they are warm to sit on I made one rather crochet one back & front only to cut out the fowm and work around so Eleanor would have I could do one for you if you would like it took only two afternoons and not very long ones at that as usely I work till 2 o’clock or rest then it was done then.

Next Sat I would like to go to the Bay to pick up few things but there is no rush for that as sometimes its hard to do that as today is Sat and we were invited to a dinner and we can’t go as one of the girls has her socker around 6 oclock then the other has hers around 8 oclock so dinner is out that’s the way it goes. 

And the 6th of Dec week end Lisa & Josef are coming.  So that week will be a big week getting food done before hand. 

This week I made noodles in that machine Nestor send befor I just made dumplings or like Nestor calls lump soup.  As I was still not strong enough.  I had to wash off the oil which got around the machine.  We all liked them I even made some larger size one for the first time we just had for supper that evening. 

I will close for today hoping will write soon. 

May all good things be on your ways always.  Love Mother


Anyone looking for a delicious but light dessert to round off a Christmas menu?

EGGNOG PIE is perfect!   

From:  GRANDMA ROSE’S BOOK OF SINFULLY DELICIOUS CAKES, COOKIES, PIES . . .  which is available on Amazon.  (A used copy for $6.95; new for $79.99)  


Monday, 17 November 2014

Another Puffy Dove Day in Laredo

                                                         This weather calls for:

family cuddles

a hot Lemon Bourbon Drink concocted by Nicole

and an excellent Italian bread courtesy of Bryan.

Filone:  the thick chewy crust is perfect for dipping into soup JT
There were 2 loaves . . . one disappeared during dinner!
Recipe in Saveur Magazine Number 147


P.S.  Marilyn wonders what those doves would do in Canada.  We’re hearing about snowfalls of 17 inches and temperatures of -17 Centigrade! 
Marilyn and Bill . . . a while back :)

Sunday, 16 November 2014


Adventurous food is a hallmark of Nicole's kitchen. 

The Preserved Lemons she used with Rainbow Trout are a Moroccan thing and very unusual but very good.  Now, I’ve just bought my first Smoked Paprika from an HEB so that I can make:

4 slices thick bacon
6 ounces onion
¼ tsp chili flakes
2 lbs. butternut squash
2 tsp oregano
7 ½ cups chicken stock
2 cups canned diced (fire-roasted) Italian tomatoes with juice
¼ tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
¾ cup cornmeal
Whipping cream
Smoked paprika

·        Peel, seed, and dice butternut squash (1/2 inch cubes)
·        Fry bacon until crisp in Dutch oven.   Remove, chop, and set aside.
·        Fry onion and chili flakes in bacon fat.
·        Add squash and oregano.  Fry 8 minutes.
·        Add chicken stock and tomatoes.
·        Bring to a boil.  Add pepper and salt to taste.
·        Whisk in cornmeal.
·        Simmer 30 minutes.
·        Purée soup.  Taste for seasoning.

·        Reheat and serve with chopped bacon, a swirl of whipping cream, and a dusting of smoked paprika.  It looks as Fantastic as it tastes!

                                                         Another Fantasy . . . 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Fishy in Laredo. . .

Last night, Nicole prepared a delicious Rainbow Trout for us with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette and Israeli Couscous:

By the way, have you ever noticed how important food is in Nursery Rhymes?   

Dance to your daddie,
My bonnie laddie;
Dance to your daddie, my bonnie
You shall get a fishy,
On a little dishy;
You shall get a fishy, when the boat
            Comes home. 

 Wishing James a belated Happy Birthday!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Cold weather and HOT DRINKS

Surprise!  It actually does get cold in Laredo (50 degrees F today)  . . .  
 . . . three doves all snuggled together on the patio this morning with their feathers fluffed up as high as they would go.

Even in her pink sweater, Maybelle was shivering . . .

and, at night, snuggling under our quilt (a gift from my mom).

So, the other night, Nicole whipped up some cream and laced our Hot Chocolate with  Kahlua and Absinthe.

Tonight’s delicious Café Prado J

The Heritage of America Cookbook gave us still another delightful warmer:


Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Heritage of America Cookbook 1993

12 oz apple cider
2     tablespoons liquid honey
The juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1     teaspoon whole allspice
4     inches cinnamon stick (broken)
       1 to 2 ounces  brandy per person
1         teaspoons butter or margarine
6     whole cinnamon sticks  (optional)

In a medium saucepan combine apple cider or apple juice, honey, and lemon juice.

 place the cloves, allspice, and broken stick cinnamon in cider mixture.

Cover saucepan, and heat cider but do not boil.                                                                                                                                                                     
Strain out spices and stir in brandy.

Ladle the hot cider mixture into mugs. Float about ½ teaspoon butter or margarine atop each serving.

If desirable, serve the cider with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Makes 6 (6-ounce) servings.


P. S.  The HERITAGE OF AMERICA COOKBOOK is available online for only one penny!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

November 13, "the strange and awful hour"


Marilyn wrote me this email on November 13, 2012:

For Jonathan's s birthday dinner on Thursday, I was going to boil some store bought noodles, when Jonathan said he'd really prefer the homemade noodles!  Bill mixed up Aunty's recipe for Kisto!  Now Eleanor, keep in mind that Bill is an engineer and there is no, and I mean "no", playing around with recipes!

We hauled out the pasta mixer, thinking that Mom would think this was the marvel of marvel appliances and then, with the incredibly soft dough, were unable to put it through the pasta mixer! It bunched up at the bottom!

The proportions of water, eggs, and flour vary greatly between cooks!  Mrs. B.’s recipe (Mom's friend) even has 1/4 cup more water. There doesn't seem to be any rule!

So I rolled out the dough and Bill and I cut the noodles " free style”.  Jonathan raved about the noodles!
Jonathan's daughter

The next morning, we rolled out the rest of the dough and with tons of flour on the mixer and lightly sprinkled on the sheets of dough, we were successful in making fettucini. Maryan, who was home for the holidays, gladly took the dried noodles home.

Everlasting memory - вічна пам'ять (vichna pam'yatʹ) Aunty Mary.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

From Mary Stadnyk on Nov. 8, 1982 . . . and MUSHROOM PEROGIES

Nov 8th 1982

I had the big seat to myself but I didn’t sleep, didn’t want to.  I thank you very much for the big dinner, I still feel guilty that you had to pay so much, thank you for all the pizzas and everything else, I had a lovely time.

When I got home Dad was sanding a chair he was fixing, all the dust on the floor, he didn’t sweep the floor so I did today.  Dad put the chair together today, tomorrow he will varnish it. 

I am going to bake a fish for supper.

It didn’t snow here as much.  I miss the baby, her many sayings, hope she didn’t get the cold.  

Diana phoned last night, she was making apple stadenow and wanted some advice.  I forgot to ask her if they for sure will come for Christmas. 

I still didn’t get together to crochet the rug, perhaps tonight as last night I was watching “Kramer versus Kramer”.  And went to bed at 10 o’clock.
Tomorrow we will go to town to cash my cheque and put an ad about my plants.

I will close for now wishing you all the best.


Nicole bought a huge $35.00 bag of dried Porcini mushrooms from Indiana so that I could make perogies.  Here’s the recipe I worked out:

      How do you like my new apron?  I picked it up at a Farmer's Market in Laredo.


2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms  (or ¾ ounce)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms (button or mixed varieties)
1 medium onion :  8 ounces
2 tbsp butter  
½ tsp dried dill
1 large garlic clove
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp salt  
1 large onion for sautéed garnish on cooked perogies
Sour cream

·        Cover dried mushrooms with 2 cups boiling water.  Let stand 10 to 20 minutes until softened.  Drain and check for grit; if necessary, rinse the mushrooms well.  Chop the mushrooms finely.  
(The mushroom water may be reserved for making soup, etc.)
·        Chop onion finely in food processor.
·        Chop garlic finely.
·        Chop fresh mushrooms finely in food processor.
·        Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat.   Add onion and garlic and cook about 4 minutes until transparent.
·        Add finely chopped dried and fresh mushrooms.  Cook for about 8 minutes until tender and liquid has evaporated.   (If desired, add some mushroom liquid to increase cooking time, but cook until it evaporates.)
·        Stir in dill, salt, and pepper.  Taste.  Add more seasonings if desired.

For Mary Stadnyk’s dough and instructions on how to stuff and cook perogies/vareniki see: 

*Serve hot, boiled vareniki with sautéed onions and sour cream.


Daniela’s carved, footed wooden dish from Ukraine