Google+ Followers

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Yesterday I got a great email from my cousin, Marilyn.  She sent me this link  

and wrote, “ I have been lost in researching Olha, Oakburn area. . . Wish you were around the corner as you seem to be interested in this stuff..

Marilyn, you are so right.  I got into the link at bedtime and Bryan had to PULL me out so that he could check his emails, too.

Within the first 30 pages I found information about the heartbreaking Patterson Lake Disaster and was astounded to learn that my father’s father was in that group of immigrants!  

Here’s a short extract from the link:

The first group that settled at Olha in 1898 came to Winnipeg by train from Halifax and stayed here for several days. They needed a rest after their hectic voyage across the Atlantic. They had a chance to buy seed potatoes and a few other necessities. A few families bought stoves 27 which were shared by the group when they reached their destination. These people were detrained at Strathclair in May, 1898.  

At this point, I have omitted a long section describing the epidemic that killed so many of the settlers' children.

As soon as the land was surveyed the families moved to their homesteads. Wasyl Swystun chose Section 30-19-22 as his homestead. Michael Drabniasty moved eight families by wagon to Wasyl Swystun's homestead where they built six huts in a row. These huts were made of wooden poles and then covered with turf. The first hut was occupied by three families, namely Michael Sitko, Nykola Kuzyk and John Shatkowsky. The second one was the home of Onofrey Ma1anchuk. Wasyl Swystun lived in the third hut, Tom Woychyshyn in the fourth, Zahery Jumaga in the fifth and John Stadnyk in the sixth. These huts were only temporary shelters. As soon as the homesteads were surveyed for these settlers, they moved and built log homes for their families. These huts were used by many families who migrated to Olha district later. The remains of them can still be seen on Michael Swystun's farm today.

A few pages later, I found another reference to my grandfather, John Stadnyk! So exciting!


Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing that link, 
and allow me to offer you
a great recipe:


            From BURGER MEISTERS by Marcel Desaulniers

1 tbsp sugar
½ cup warm water
1 ½ tsp yeast
½ cup milk
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped black brine-cured olives
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup cornmeal, divided
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or oregano (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt

*Dissolve sugar in warm water.  Add yeast and let stand 3 minutes to foam.
*Pour milk into large mixing bowl.  Add yeast mixture.
*Stir in 1 ½ cups flour, olives, Parmesan, ¼ cup cornmeal, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, pepper, and salt.
*Knead in more flour (about ¾ cup).  Knead for 2 minutes.
*Cover and let rest for 10 mintes.
*Knead again until elastic (about 8 minutes).
*Oil the mixing bowl.  Put dough in and cover with a towel.   Let rise in warm place for 1 ½ hours.
Punch down and form into a round loaf.
Sprinkle baking sheet with some cornmeal. 
Set loaf on baking sheet and allow to rise in warm place for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake for 35 minutes.

Serve burgers between slices of this bread:  FANTASTIC! 

Thank you Alison Awerbuch and Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill Restaurant in New York for an excellent recipe.

Monday, 15 February 2016

The Laredo Air Show . . . and JELL-O COFFEE PIE

Before the show, we explored a transport plane.  

Kepler really did not want to leave the cockpit . . .

so he then raced ahead and, heedless of the lineup, right onto a helicopter.

The Bumper Boats were a nice distraction . . .

and he dove right into the Jump House.

The show started with a little stunt plane.  Sometimes disappearing into its own smoke at the height of a climb, it plunged or rolled over and over again.  Kepler LOVED it.

Definitely a fun day!  but some points to remember for next time:

  1. Do not arrive early.  You have to just stand around in the sun waiting for the gates to open at 11:00, and it was hot out (28 C).  

Some smart people brought umbrellas.

2.  Bring lots of water.

3.  Buy tickets ahead of time.  That lineup is much shorter.

4.  Find out about tickets for the tents.  It would be nice to sit in some shade and not have the view cut off.   

5.  There were lots of food tents including one that offered “Cajun Blackened Alligator on a Stick.”   

There was no place to sit, however, unless you were in one of those tents or brought your own chair . . . in which case, if you hurried, you might even snag a shady spot under the wing of one of the big airplanes on display.

So we passed up the Carnival Food and went home to a delicious


Graham Wafer crust in a 9 inch pan
½ cup chocolate sauce (or ganache)
1 ¾ cups cold milk
1 tbsp instant coffee
2 packages Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
8 ounce tub Cool Whip topping, thawed

  • Heat chocolate sauce and pour onto crust in pie plate.  Put in freezer while preparing filling.
  • Stir together coffee and milk in large bowl.  
  • Whisk in vanilla pudding powder.
  • Stir in Cool Whip.
  • Spoon into crust.  
  • Put in fridge for an hour before serving.    

Look what happens!


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day from Diana . . . and a Ukrainian Dessert

Kepler was very excited this year about Valentine’s Day. There was a Party at his daycare.  

Kepler’s great-aunt, Diana, always sends her love on Valentine’s Day . . .



2016:  I sing this one to the tune of "O my darling, Clementine" and Kepler loves it.

UKRAINIAN DESSERT, Mousse au Vin  (serves 8 at least)

4 cups whipping cream
2 packages Knox gelatin (or 2 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons Port plus 2 teaspoons
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Fresh fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, chopped strawberries, or chopped bananas

1.     Soak gelatin in 3 tablespoons luke-warm water.
2.    Add Port wine, sugar, vanilla.  Bring to a boil.
3.    Cool.
4.    beat whipping cream until stiff.
5.    Mix the fruit into the whipped cream..
6.    When the wine-gelatin mixture begins to set, blend it into the whipped cream & fruit.
7.    Fill pretty bowl and chill.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Picture Books for Kepler and . . . MAPLE PECAN BISCUITS

Kepler loved "Thump, Thump" last summer (he was 2 yrs, 3 months).

this visit:
I get to make a lot of noise as a one-woman band!

Bryan and I joined forces last night to wail like the wind and crash like thunder.  As soon as we finished, Kepler insisted on a repeat performance.

                          And this is Fun Scary . . . the best of the bunch . . .

                                               Except for this one !

Kepler has been asking Nicole to read it at bedtime for over a year!


And for snack time:


                1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped  (so kids won’t pick them out)
       2 cups flour
                2 ½ tsp baking powder
                ¼ tsp salt

                1/2 cup soft butter
                ¼ cup maple syrup
               ¾  cup milk
1.     Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.     Grease a baking sheet.
3.     Mix pecans, flour, baking powder, and salt in food processor.
4.     Add butter and process to fine crumbs.
5.     Turn flour mixture into a mixing bowl.
6.     Stir milk and maple syrup into flour, stirring only long enough to combine.
(The secret to tender biscuits is minimum handling.)
8.     Drop about 6 to 8 large spoonfuls onto baking sheet.

9.     Bake for 12 to 14 minutes.

"Mmm," says Kepler.

P.S.  The VERY best way to have a biscuit after it has cooled is to TOAST it.
Yep, just cut it in half, pop it in your toaster, and then butter it.  It's even better than fresh out of the oven!

Thursday, 4 February 2016


The winner of “The Grouchy Ladybug Game” is the player who has collected the most aphids.  To collect them you have to say “Please.” 

 It really tickles Bryan when he thanks Kepler for giving him an aphid and Kepler says, “You’re welcome.”

When your spin lands you in the whale’s mouth, however, you lose an aphid. 
We have played the Grouchy Ladybug game 3 times now and, from the very first time, Kepler hasn’t gotten upset about losing the aphids he has picked up.  

But yesterday when Bryan landed in the whale’s mouth, I said Kepler should take one of Bryan’s aphids for the whale. 

 “The whale’s hungry,” I said.  

Kepler picked up one of Bryan’s aphids.  

Trudging over to drop it onto the cache of aphids, Kepler said quietly, “He’s sorry.”   



          From: Jeff Smith’s THE FRUGAL GOURMET on OUR IMMIGRANT 

1 cup pinto beans
2 tbsp veg oil
½ pound smoked ham
3 cloves garlic
1 med yellow onion
8 cups beef stock (I used vegetable broth and 2 beef bouillon cubes)
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp Hungarian style paprika
2 to 3 cups sauerkraut, drained 
Salt to taste
Yogurt or sour cream for garnish

·        Put beans into large soup pot.  Add 3 cups cold water.  Cover & bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat & let sit for one hour.  Then drain. 
·        Return beans to the pot and add the beef stock.
·        Finely chop garlic and onion.
·        Heat oil in a frying pan and fry onion & garlic until tender.
·        Add onion and garlic to the soup pot.
·        Chop ham.
·        Add ham, pepper, and paprika to the soup pot.
·        Bring to the boil.  Lower heat.  Cover and simmer for one hour. 
·        Pour soup into a large bowl through a strainer. 
·        Put about ¾ of the drained beans into a food processor, add a little soup liquid, and blend until smooth.
·        Return all the liquid, beans, and pureed beans to the pot.
·        Add the sauerkraut.  Cover and simmer for one hour.
·        Taste for salt. 

·        Serve with a dollop of yogurt.  VERY tasty!