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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A LETTER . . . and Marvellous Marinated Vegetable Salad

July 28th 1982

Dad was away to Diana.  He came home yesterday.  He brought blueberries, they are nice.  I would be able to make pies.  I froze them all.

On Sunday I canned 9 pints of strawberries.  Mervin Presniak gave them to me, they were nice and big.  He got them from strawberry gardens, they irrigate them so they are nice and clean.

Today I went to town in morning and after dinner canned 8 pink cherries.
I forgot all about the yarn I wrote you as I am busy looking after the geese.  We have now 53 young ones.  Oh yes, when I wrote about the yarn I forgot to send the thickness I want so I am sending you a piece but it’s not the color.

About feeding the baby, she can have peas, beans, things like that and minced meat but don’t force.  She may only like some and some not.  But I would not worry.  She can start drinking out of a cup, some will go in and all over but I didn’t wean them till they were 2 or 2 ½ years as if they didn’t eat much they made up on the bottle.  She can have some soups and keep giving her some kind of vitamins.  Don’t worry she don’t walk yet.  When she starts she will make up for the lost time.  She’s only little over a year.

Dad’s brother Steve broke another leg in two places.  He fell in the hospital and his lungs are poor.  I got the letter from his daughter today. 

Tracey & David are in Winnipeg at Shwaluks, friends of Donald & Karen’s.

I wrote to Nestor yesterday.  Valerie Leschyshyn, Miron’s daughter, is getting married Aug 14 at two o’clock in Roblin Redeemer Catholic Church.  Reception is at 5:00 pm in Roblin Hall.  They wrote to tell and I kept forgetting to tell that you all invited as they didn’t have your address. 

About the potatoes, they are like that because you had too much moisture. They will improve, only the dark spot will be there.  You will have to cut it out when you peel. 

Saturday Matt & Shirley are going to some reunion.  It’s on Shirley’s side.


        Based on the “Mixed Vegetable Salad” recipe in IDEALS SOUP, SALAD, SANDWICH COOKBOOK   by June Turner and Naomi Arbit

¾ cup cider vinegar
½ cup canola oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 can kernel corn, drained
½ cauliflower, divided into small florets
½ red onion, thinly sliced


·        Put vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper in a jar and shake to combine.
·        Put corn, cauliflower, and onion into a large jar. 
·        Pour dressing over top and marinate for at least 4 hours.  (I actually marinated it for several days.)
·        Wash, tear, and spin lettuce:  a leaf per person is lots.  Put into a large salad bowl.

·        When ready to serve, add the marinated vegetables and toss.  (You probably won’t need to use all the vegetables at one time.  They will keep nicely for another salad the next day, and you’ll be happy to have it again!)


Sunday, 26 July 2015


Lily is Helen’s older widowed sister.  She lives in a senior’s apartment building and goes for walks with her friends every morning and every evening. 

(We sponsored her for the Memory Walk for Alzheimers.  Last year she raised almost $800.00.   First, she did the walk herself.  Then she pushed her friend’s wheelchair the whole way.)

We thought we would be taking Lily out for lunch, but she sat us down to a huge dinner of ribs, cabbage rolls, potatoes, salad, and pickles. . . 

and then her amazing lemon pie!

Lily said Helen was a farmer and never liked to cook.  As for herself, she laughed, 
                   “My family say I cook enough for an army.”

Lily still makes her own sauerkraut at her son’s place . 

Nowadays, however, she does consider making perogies a two day job.

Every time we go, I love looking at Lily’s pictures. . .

Lily and Fred's big day . . .

Fred’s grandparents

Marta and Helen

  Marta (who died of liver cancer at the age of 42)

Lily’s beautiful mother who lived to be a hundred!


We don’t often have dessert with dinner any more, but with Lily’s example to inspire me I came up with this menu for our last dinner party:

Appetizer of raw vegetables with Curry Vegetable Dip
(from SOUTHERN ACCENT, Award Winning Southern Recipes)

Ukrainian Poached Chicken with Walnut Sauce
Cabbage Salad [Lahana Salatas]
Winter Vegetables
(from Le Passe-Partout, once a top restaurant in Montreal)

Dessert: Lavender Shortbread
(from Bon Appetit magazine, December, 2014)

{Lavender & clipped recipe : thanks to Nicole}


It was a really good dinner.  The recipe you need, however, is the one for the veggies!  (Serves 8 to 10)  Prepare them early in the day and just finish them off at serving time.

2 large carrots
2 turnips
1 rutabaga
1 pound baby red potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
½ pound pearl onions (or more if they come in a bag)
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped parsley

·        Peel carrots, turnips, and rutabaga.  Cut into 1 and ½ inch chunks.  Set aside.
·        Scrape potatoes and keep immersed in cold water.
·        Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
·        Put oil in large roasting pan (like the one that comes with your stove; the one with a grill top, but you won’t use the grill top).   
·        Shake salt on top of oil.
·        Dry potatoes.  Cut each one in half if small (in quarters if large).
·        Roast for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. 
·        When potatoes are golden and tender, add the carrots, turnips, and rutabaga chunks.  ALSO ADD ¼ CUP WATER.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 35 minutes, until tender.  Then set aside until just before serving.
·        Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan.
·        Blanch onions for 1 minute and drain.
·        When onions are cool enough to handle, remove skins.  Set aside.
·        When ready to serve, melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions and stir for 1 minute until browning.  Add the other vegetables and stir for about 3 minutes until heated through.
·        Taste for salt and pepper.  (I didn’t add any.) 

·        Sprinkle with parsley and serve.   Yum! 

Saturday, 25 July 2015


 Are there places that seem to call to you?  Even when they no longer exist?  Here are some of mine:

The house my dad’s parents built

The house in which I was born (from left, Diana, then me)

The house I grew up in  (Anastasia, 1950s)

The abandoned house on our farm.  I still have dreams about this one.  It had two stories and I always thought it was so much nicer than the house we lived in.

The house in India

The first house Bryan and I bought

The cabin that kept creeping downwards toward the lake

The house built with our design input

Mom and Dad’s house in Shoal Lake

When we visited Donald and Karen last May, we couldn’t resist driving out to where Mom and Dad used to live . . . even though everything was gone except for the trees Dad planted.

Recently, Diana walked by her last home in Winnipeg and found herself just staring and staring at it.  She said the big spruce was so trimmed that it looked bare.

“Haunts of my youth!
. . . I behold ye yet” 
Charlotte Smith (1749-1806)


This is where I ought to give you a favorite old recipe, but Kepler and Nicole liked

these fluffy APPLE PECAN PANCAKES and, if that isn’t recommendation enough, I’ll just tell you I enjoyed them with syrup and without, picking them up in my hand just like a scone J.

1 cup flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
7/8 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup finely chopped peeled apple
½ cup finely chopped pecans

·        In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, & cinnamon.
·        In another medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
·        In a large bowl, beat together milk, egg yolks, and vanilla.
·        Stir dry ingredients into liquids in large bowl.  
·        Stir in apple and pecans.
·        Fold in egg whites.
·        All set to make pancakes!  Thanks to Renae Moncur who shared her recipe in the magazine, A Taste of Home.

                                      ‘Out with the old, in with the new’. 


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

COUSIN HELEN . . . and KHACHAPURI, a Georgian Bread

As Bryan and I were passing by Alberton, Montana, in May, we spotted a sign for The Montana Valley Bookstore.   Used bookstores are so irresistible we just had to turn around. 

An old house fitted, even in the basement, with rows of floor to ceiling shelves has been a family business for almost 40 years.  Among the treasures lurking there I found this Time-Life book

Foods of the World RUSSIAN COOKING
by Helen and George Papashvily

George P., who was born in Georgia, declared that Khachapuri is “one of the most delightful of all Caucasian specialties”.  Despite the complicated looking pictures of it, I decided it had to be done . . . by Bryan J.  Luckily for him, our daughter informed us that she had another recipe for it . . . by Nigella Lawson! 

Since Nigella’s recipe appeared simpler, we went with it . . . and wow! 

Nigella’s HACHAPURI :  8 servings

from her book, FEAST, Food that Celebrates Life:

6 cups flour  
2 cups plain yogurt
2 eggs
3 tbsp very soft butter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp soda

475 g ricotta cheese
400 g feta cheese
200 g mozzarella
1 egg

·        Crumble and mix together the ricotta and feta in a large bowl.
·        Grate the mozzarella and add to the ricotta.
·        Beat the egg and add to the cheeses.
·        Mix well and set aside in fridge.

·        Stir salt and soda into the flour in a medium bowl.
·        In a large mixing bowl, beat together yogurt, eggs, and butter.
·        Stir in about 2 cups of the flour.
·        Keep adding in flour until dough can be turned out onto the counter.
·         Gradually knead in the rest of the flour until smooth.
·        Cover and let rest for at least 20 minutes.   (It can stay much longer than that.  So you could actually make the dough in the morning and just do the final bit in the late afternoon.)
·        Oil a large pizza pan.
·        Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

·        Cut dough in half.  Shape each half into a ball.
·        Roll out one half on well-floured counter.
·        Transfer to pizza pan.
·        Put cheese filling on this dough, leaving about an inch bare all around the outside.
·        Roll out the other half dough.
·        Lay this half on top of the cheese-covered dough. 
·        Fold in the edges to seal the outside of the bread, curling them inwards.
·        Cook cheesebread for 15 to 20 minutes.  (Bryan did 20 and it was perfect.) 

It’s like a giant cheese calzone and the bread tastes just AMAZING.

Serve with a salad.  Yep, that’s all you need . . .  Really not hard at all.


I bet my cousin Helen would love Hachapuri.  Every time we visit her in Estevan, we always meet her at the Tower for a pizza.

We talked about Ukrainian food and the old days.  She said they had buckwheat cabbage rolls (one of Diana’s favourites).  Also, Helen said her mom made nachynka once.    

                Helen, on the right, and her sister, Marta

When she was young, Helen liked dancing and went to a lot of dances.
Helen enjoyed telling us about a trick she played on our dad just before a wedding.  Dad was getting worried they’d all be late so he clomped up the stairs and asked, “Aren’t you girls getting up yet?”  Helen leaped out of bed . . . already dressed in her bridesmaid gown. 

Helen never learned to sew but her sister, Lily, did. 

Mostly Helen likes to talk about farming.

Helen told us she liked horses.  At Rackham, they harnessed 6 horses across when plowing up new land.  Herself, she harnessed 4 across when harrowing and walked behind.

By the time she was 16, she only worked outside.  She shovelled out barns but they didn’t have pigs. 

They kept sheep mainly for food.  Once they paid a guy $3.00 per sheep for shearing but they only got $2.00 for the fleece so it wasn’t worth it.
The farmer they rented from was so impressed with her that he told her he would have rented his land to her because she was a good farmer.

Helen is 80 now and strong except for her lungs.  She used to be a smoker but gave it up 7 years ago.  She thinks the dust from grain and also working the fields took their toll.   “No sense complaining,” she always replies when we ask how she is.  “No one wants to listen to that.”

Saturday, 18 July 2015

FOR THE KIDS: Another healthy BREAKFAST PUDDING and . . . art galleries!

Contemporary art galleries always make it onto our travel itineraries.  Last year:

Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, Washington

Museum of Glass, Tacoma . . .

  What a great room!  

This year:
Since our next cruise will start in Jacksonville, I was delighted to read in Fodor’s that the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville has, in addition to 5 galleries, an “ArtExplorium, a highly interactive educational exhibit for kids”.   Yay!  I love it when places offer something special for Kepler as well as us! 

Same goes for food!


            From 250 Best Cobblers, Custards, Cupcakes, Bread Puddings & More by Esther Brody

3 cups fresh white bread crumbs
3 cups milk, scalded
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt (or ¼ tsp if preferred)
3 eggs
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt

·        Butter casserole dish (about 9 inch diameter or 8 inch square)
·        Find a larger dish that the casserole can stand in and be surrounded with boiling water.  
·        Whirl bread slices in food processor to make crumbs.
·        Scald milk in saucepan.   Set aside.
·        Add butter to scalded milk.
·        In a large bowl, combine crumbs, milk, and butter.  Stir in wheat germ, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  Mix well.  Let stand for 5 minutes and mix again.
·        Start oven preheating to 350.
·        In another large bowl, whisk eggs slightly. 
·        Add brown sugar, vanilla, and bread and mix thoroughly to blend.   Set aside for 15 minutes.
·        Bring water to a boil in kettle.
·        Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish.
·        Set casserole in larger pan and pour in hot water to a one inch depth.
·        Bake in oven for 50 minutes. 
·        Check that pudding is set by inserting knife in middle.
    Serve with milk for a healthy breakfast.   Or serve with ice cream for a very nice dessert.