Google+ Followers

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

GUTEN TAG! A letter from Germany . . . and GERMAN PFEFFERNUSS BREAD

When I was in high school, Mr. Kupp, the school principal, set up a penpal program with students in Germany.

One of Horst’s letters.

In 1968, on a damp, gloomy day, I was in Berlin so Horst picked me up with his little 3-wheeled car.   We drove on the Autobahn and he treated me to lunch at his university’s cafeteria. I remember a rich, dark sauce on the meat.  Perhaps it was sauerbraten?

Another mind-picture that has never left me from that trip was of display cases full of cakes covered with fluffy, whipped cream. 

   This is one of  the dresses I bought in Germany on that trip.  Pale blue chiffon: I hardly got to wear it because someone was smoking at a party.

Bryan and I visited Germany together about ten years ago.  Such good memories!  So:






Making gingersnaps: we ground some of them up and added them to a sauce for Sauerbraten


PFEFFERNUSS BROT (Pepper Spice Bread)


Flavored with molasses, aniseed, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, and walnuts!

·        The book is available online for less than ten dollars Cdn.   This Pfeffernuss Bread is worth the price alone!  Serve it with a salad and soup and you'll have a complete, delicious light dinner.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

DONALD, my BROTHER, July 21, 1936 - November 27, 2015

Our parents were pioneers, and Donald was born on the homestead in Pleasant Valley.  From a young age, he was expected to help out on the farm.  When Dad decided to move to Foxwarren, Donald and George rode horseback and herded the cattle all the way, about 80 to 90 miles.  Donald was 13 and George 14 at that time.  

Donald had to quit after elementary school because he was needed on the farm.  Then, he went to work on the oil rigs and sent money home to help pay off the farm.  He also brought Mom a matching garnet necklace and bracelet.  Next, he worked to help pay for farms for Matt and George. 

Then, it was Donald’s turn and his brothers helped him.  With his wife, Karen, Donald built up a tidy, successful farm and raised two children, Tracey and David.

Donald was ten years older than me so, over the years, I got to see how understanding he was.  

When I was in grade nine and wanted to go to the school dance, Mom and Dad said no.  Donald said, “She’s going.”  He drove me there and waited somewhere in town for 3 hours to take me home.

More recently, when a kid shot up a rain barrel, someone else said, “We’re taking your gun away.”  But Donald knew that kids just get carried away sometimes.    “No, we’re not,” he said.  “But you – you’re never doing that again.”  A few words and a look -- he was firm, and that was enough.

Donald’s interests ranged far beyond the farm.  He loved to read NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC magazines.

Family was so important to Donald.  He enjoyed a good long visit and storytelling and, out of the cupboard, where he kept it for special occasions, would come a bottle.
Donald always had an innate impishness.  Over a drink last spring, he reminisced about years past “when the police were more likely to give a guy a warning and let him off”.

“Me and the boys were  in a restaurant and the owner came over to ask us to stop making so much noise so I said, ‘Maybe you should make some noise too’.  I picked him up the collar and the seat of his pants and threw him out the door.”

“Just having a bit of fun,” said Donald.


He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
                   William Shakespeare


Donald was not religious.  At his insistence, there was no funeral or memorial.  


Donald did a lot of cooking including cabbage rolls, pickles, and borsch.

In  Donald's memory, I decided to make a borsch that has its roots in the area of Lviv, Ukraine because that's where our grandparents came from.

My Ukrainian cookbooks ask for the beets to be cooked separately and then added to the stock.  I've tried it that way but can't see the point.  Instead, I have cooked the beets in the stock the way my mother used to do.


1.5 to 2 lbs beef roast
10 peppercorns
Soup greens – such as celery with leaves, parsley, carrots, onion
2 teaspoons salt
12 to 14 cups water

1 onion: 8 ounces
Beets:  1 pound to 1.25 lbs
2 carrots:  8 ounces total
Potatoes: 8 ounces
4 to 6 tbsp finely chopped parsley stems (more flavor than in leaves)
10 cups beef stock
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp vinegar

Sour cream

FIRST PREPARE BEEF STOCK  (This could be done a day ahead.)
·        Put beef and water in large pot.  Water should be about 2 inches above the beef.
·        Bring to a boil and skim well.
·        Add salt. 
·        Reduce heat a bit but keep at a rolling boil for one hour.
·        Add soup greens and keep boiling for 45 more minutes.
·        Remove beef and set it aside to cool in fridge. (Use some of this in the borsch; the rest is great in sandwiches!) 
·        Strain the broth.  Discard vegetables.
(If cooking a day ahead, refrigerate the broth and discard the fat that solidifies at the top.)

·        Peel beets.  Cut into matchsticks.  Set aside.
·        Finely chop onion.  Add to beets.
·        Peel carrots.  Cut into matchsticks.  Add to beets.
·        Finely chop parsley stems.  (In Ukraine, parsley roots are used, but I can’t find any in shops here.)
·        Put beef stock into a large pot and add sugar, bay leaf, and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil.
·        Taste for salt. (I added ½ tsp at this point.)
·        Add all the vegetables to the boiling stock.  Lower heat a little but keep at a rolling boil for 20 minutes.
·        Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into dice.   Add to the cooking soup.
·        Add 4 tbsp vinegar.  Also, at this point you can add 1/2 pound of cubes of the beef that was cooked to make the stock.  Keep boiling for another 15 minutes.
·        Serve with dollops of sour cream and a garnish of parsley leaves.


For earlier posts about Donald, see:

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Happy Birthday, KATHY . . . and Alabama Lane Cake

Get set :)


Best Wishes, Kathy!

Lane Cake


The preparation was unusual because the dough is very stiff and hard to beat, but then you fold 8 egg whites into it!  The result was a very light, moist cake.

Then there’s the yummy cooked filling which includes 8 egg yolks, maraschino cherries, pecans, raisins, coconut, and bourbon. 

The icing recipe was too tricky for Bryan and me so he ended up substituting a butter and cream icing – perfect!

This cookbook is worth buying . . . especially at the price online . . .

  a whole . . . penny!


Sunday, 20 November 2016


When she got home, Mother Otter exclaimed, “Olivia!  What took you so long?  Millie’s already here!”

     “There's a yummy snack of clams and crabs,” groaned Millie.  "I ate tons!"

    “I’m not hungry,” said Olivia.  

     “Olivia Omnivore, not hungry?  Unbelievable!” teased Millie.

     Mother squinted at Olivia’s sad face.  “My dear,  what's the matter?  Where’s Kit?” 

     “He’s with some friends,” replied Olivia, quietly.

     “Are you sick?” asked Mother.

      “No,” said Olivia.  “I've got homework.”

     “Oh,” said Mother, with an understanding smile, “homework. Let me
know if you need help.”

     But Olivia didn’t do her homework. She lay on her bed and didn’t

move even when she heard Mother calling her for supper.

Story by Eleanor
Illustrations by Nestor.

*To start from the beginning, go to:

  Page 1:

     Page 2:

Friday, 18 November 2016

"Close to us in spirit" . . . and SPICY CARROT VARENIKI (perogies)

                                   "Heaven give you many, many merry days!"

                                                  (William Shakespeare)


                                Mom's recipe for pyrohi is a treasured legacy.

Mom made two varieties:  (a) Potato and Cottage Cheese  (b) Sauerkraut.


I can't resist trying a new stuffing, but with Mom's dough recipe.


     - inspired by the "Carrot Cake Perogies" recipe on Foodnetwork

12 ounces carrots
1 sweet potato (7 to 8 ounces)
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup raisins
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
½ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

*Set cream cheese out on counter to soften.
* Peel and coarsely grate carrots and sweet potato.
*Chop raisins.
*In a food processor, grind together carrots, sweet potato, and raisins. 
*Heat oil in large frying pan.  Add carrot mixture.  Stir one minute.  Reduce heat to minimum, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes to soften.
*Take off heat.  Stir in brown sugar, salt, and pepper.  Let cool.

*Meanwhile, make perogy dough.  Use Mary Stadnyk’s recipe:
*Mash cream cheese in a large bowl.  Stir in the carrot mixture. 

*Stuff the perogies using Mary Stadnyk’s method.  Make them nice and plump!

Serve with sour cream and a salad.  Yum!

P.S.  Hot, steamed garlic sausage also would be great with this meal. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

My nephew, STEVEN

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.”  (Abraham Lincoln)

Steven entered a room with energy and warmth. 

Steven’s gift was the ability to make all his family and friends feel special and important.

     Too soon, Steven was taken from us, but we will treasure the memories.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

More Fun Doin's in Laredo . . . and Kids like HAMBURGER STROGANOFF

Nicole is wearing her art!

James is celebrating his birthday!  Kepler helped decorate the cake.

Kepler is making his first “cookies”.   He added lots of surprise ingredients! 

                         Wild pigs are wandering about on the TAMIU campus.



½ to 1 pound ground beef
4 ounces chopped onion (or half an onion)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 (10-ounce/284 ml can of cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ to 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt or a mixture of both
340 g package of broad egg noodles

*Start boiling a large pot of water for the noodles.
*In large frying pan or Dutch oven, stir together ground beef and onion until onion is transparent and ground beef is no longer pink.
*Stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and mushroom soup.  Turn off heat while you cook the noodles.
*Boil noodles until just tender (about 5 minutes).  Drain.
*Reheat beef.  Stir in the sour cream.  Stir in the egg noodles.

Serve with a salad.   

This has been a family favourite from when the girls were three and five!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Mom: Nov 10, 1981 . . . and Balkan LEEK SOUP

Nov 10th 1981   (from Shoal Lake:  17 cent stamp)
        I received your letter last week for which I thank you very much and the pictures too. 

Yes I got the pictures and paid for them and I got the nagatives too  But Aline has them now she will give them back next week.  Yes you can see them at Christmas and take what you want.
We were to see Wes & Marion Sat

                                    and Sunday we seen Nellie.

And then on the way home we seen Dad brother Steve he is not very well but we were able to talk to him.  He is selling his farm he thinks its enough farming.
I cut Dianas quilt and it didn’t take long to sew it up. 

 I have finished enbroidring anther cushion started on anthere perhaps I will finnish it when Diana comes they are coming Nov 21st
I haven’t put the cording and tassels on yours will do it one of these days. 
I got all the presents and card one of these days will send them out.

Dad killed a young deer he gave Matt half.
Today I gave out the mitts I still don’t have the yarn color beige for your mitts I don’t even know if its beige or tan and besides I haven’t looked at yarns.
I started on granny squars for an afagan but its not coming along much perhaps I will get at in the evenings.
We will kill few geese on Thursday
I bought for baby a christing present but it wait till Christmas.
Wes my brother is coming Friday for Deer hunting he so up in it.  He’s going to saw cord wood he don’t need any but it will be something to do.
Nellie started knitting sweaters evenings shes making a good job but she did knit sweaters when she was young.
We will go to a sale Nov 14th and nov 15 we are going to a birthday party to Dmyterko’s and on nov 21st we are invited to a wedding Nestor Smyr is getting married but only Dad may go as Diana is coming that day.

Nov 28 is church day and fare way party for Paul & Pearl Mushimnski. 

George is buying his place so Matt & George are putting the party.

Hudorits were down selling pork bologna and othere stuff we bought bologany and pork chops.
Dad been going every evening hunting rabbits for the dog but there is not many rabbits. 
We have about 50 bantys to kill about 20 are still to small but the others we will kill soon.  Dad will go to town tomorrow to get me the pills. 
I will close for now may write more next time as now I don’t have much to write  May your days be sunny & bright
                                               God bless you all
                                                                  Love Mother


The pictures Mom was referring to at the start of her letter were taken at Mom and Dad's Golden Wedding Anniversary in October so I've included some of them.

Mom always enjoyed a nice bowl of soup, and I’m sure she would have enjoyed this thick and tasty


            From HOMEMAKER’S MAGAZINE:  November 2004

3 leeks, including the green tops
2 stalks celery, with leaves
3 tbsp butter
¼ tsp pepper
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups water (or vegetable stock)
Salt to taste
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (3 ounces or 90 g)
2 eggs
½ cup plain yogurt

1.      Chop leeks finely.  You can use the food processor.
2.     Finely chop celery, also in the food processor.
3.     Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Cook leeks, celery, and pepper until soft (10 minutes).
4.     Stir in flour.  Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
5.     Slowly stir in 4 cups of water (or stock) and salt to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  (I didn’t think there would be enough liquid but there was.)
6.     Stir in cheese until it melts.
7.     Shortly before serving, beat eggs well with yogurt. 
8.     Stir a lot of hot soup into the eggs.  Then stir this all into the soup.  The soup should be heated until hot, but not boiling.

Note:  It reheats well.  I served it with a Ukrainian beet salad and Bryan’s Russian Dill and Onion Bread.