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September….already!

Autumn is a good time to sit back and take a look at all the hard work you put into planting, watering, feeding and weeding that garden of yours.  Well, it is at our house.

It is hard to believe that it’s now the month of September.  The Summer months have zipped by so quickly.  But wait.  That is not entirely true because if you have been following me on my blog, you will know that My Man and I have had a very long and busy Summer.

We celebrated Canada’s 150 year celebrations with many friends and family.  We also enjoyed ourselves at two weddings this July and August.

Happy Canada Day!

It was great to see so many people that we haven’t seen for a few years.

Our weather was hot and dry.  Yes, dare I say, it was almost too hot?  No rain since June. Temperatures have been in the mid to high 30C.  Nice if you can stay out of the blazing sun.  Because of the BC fires in the interior, it has been rough for many people who had to evacuate from their homes.

The sun struggles to shine through the smoke in the air.

So it is no surprise that today’s cooler temperatures and spotty rain showers are welcomed by all around here.  The grass is standing a little bit taller and that garden that we are looking at today…well, it looks ready for harvesting.

Think I will go and see what may need to be picked.  Maybe the tomatoes?

If you have an abundance of tomatoes, why not check out my latest tomato soup recipe.Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup

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Vareniki, Perohi, Perogies…Oh, My!

Fried Perogies

A dumpling with so many name variations!  No matter what name they go by in your house, perogies are delicious!

Many Ukrainian food sites state that Varenyky aka perogies or pyrohy, are a main staple of Ukrainian immigrants.

I would agree that in the past, perogies were served at most meals but because many of us watch our intake of heavy foods (high in carbohydrates), perogies are mainly served now for special occasions and special times of the year.  They are basically small parcels of dough that are stuffed with various fillings.  No pyrohy is ever eaten without sour cream and fried onions! (Well, at least not in our house).

Various regions in the Ukraine have their own versions of a varenyky. The fillings that most of us in Canada are accustomed to are made with potato and onion, or potato and cheese.  However, they can also be filled with a variety of fruit, poppy-seed, mushrooms, buckwheat, sauerkraut and even chocolate-covered cherries!   Varenyky Fillings

The recipes for homemade perogies are on my Pages under Traditional Ukrainian Dishes .

These recipes posted are my favourites.  One is my mom’s original recipe  and I include one from my sister and my sister-in-law.  They are all very good, but I find that the one made with the cream of tartar to be the easiest to handle.

I am always experimenting with various filings and would love to hear what you favourite fillings may be.

So, as you can see, I have used the word varenyki and perogies interchangeably in the above text.  “A rose by any other name?”

Whatever you call them at your house……..enjoy!

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Ukrainian Beet Leaf Holubsti #2

It is the season for fresh beet leaves from our gardens.  I have just added another recipe for fresh Beet Leaf Rolls and Holubsti, Ukrainian style.

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Beet Leaf Holubsti #2  is similar to my other recipes Ukrainian Beet Rolls and  Ukrainian Beet Leaf Holubtsi.

I am providing a recipe that will produce softer buns and the rising time is shorter.

So if your mouth is watering as you read these recipes or you are feeling nostalgic for tasty days gone by….check out the Beet Leaf recipes on my pages Traditional Ukrainian recipes.

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Beet Leaf Holubsti, without sauce

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Easter Baking (Korovai Birds)

Easter is fast approaching so I did a bit of baking today.

Dough Birds

I have a few followers who, like myself, enjoy twisting and braiding bread for special occasions.  I have been asked to demonstrate how I make bread dough doves. I use a Kolach dough.  It’s a bit firmer than regular bread dough and is easier to roll out and twist around the fingers.

To begin, break off a small piece of dough and roll evenly to approximately 12 inches in length.  I keep it fairly thin (about the diameter of a pencil).

Divide these rolls into smaller segments, about 3 – 4 inches. 

Take one end and cross it over as shown. 

Insert one end gently through the center and this becomes the bird’s head.  Squeeze the tip to form a beak.

I then flatter out the tail and put 2 – 3 slits in it to resemble the tail feathers.

Bake at 350F. for 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them.  As soon as the beaks start to darken and turn golden brown, take them out of the even.  I use egg wash to add poppy seed eyes.

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Petrosha’s Chebureki aka Ukrainian Meat Pies

There seems to be many variations to Chebureki, a popular yet simple street food.

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I don’t recall eating Chebureki at home when I was a young child.  I first heard of Chebureki from a fellow Ukrainian language school classmate.  She raved about how delicious these little “meat pies” tasted.  My Ukrainian school teacher told us how she made them all the time.

I decided to go in search of this recipe and found many variations posted on Russian and Ukrainian recipe sites.  They are basically a deep-fried meat pie stuffed with ground beef and onions.  image

Although these traditional chebureki taste just fine, I have tweeked the recipes and come up with my own rendition of chebureki appetizers.

Take a look for the recipe under Traditional Ukrainian dishes or click here   Petrosha’s Chebureki aka Ukrainian Meat Pies

I hope you enjoy them.

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Canadian Thanksgiving 2016

The turkey is cooking in the oven.  img_3646

The pumpkin pies have been baked.

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The potatoes, carrots and yes, even the brussel sprouts have been washed, peeled and sliced – all ready to be cooked for dinner tonight.  Although it’s not our official day for Thanksgiving, many families including my own, enjoy a traditional turkey dinner on Sunday.  It’s just seems to be a bit easier on the cook to be able to just relax and eat left-overs on the Monday before going back to work.

Ah, yes, going back to work.  I am retired now but I remember it well.  As the sun just started to rise in the sky, I would wake up every day to the blaring sound of an alarm clock.  I would stumble my way out of bed and step under the hot spray of my morning shower, dry my hair, and hurry downstairs to brew a pot of coffee.  When the family was all awake, we would have a good breakfast before heading out the door.

From the time that our boys were school age, they learned to make their own lunches.  I’d ensure that they had healthy choices to choose from.  My youngest was easiest to accommodate because he always wanted peanut butter and jam sandwiches.  But My Man and oldest son always wanted “meat”.  It didn’t matter what kind, just as long as it was meat.  Hmm, come to think of it, that’s what I recall my mom always packing up for my dad in his metal lunch box.

I remember one frosty winter morning in particular when I was about five years old.  As I wandered into the kitchen in my pyjamas and my bare feet, I saw that it was still dark outside.  I could feel the cold drafts of air seeping in through the windows and my toes were freezing on the cold linoleum floor.  Mom and dad were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking hot coffee and eating their breakfast.  It was still so dark outside and I could not understand why my dad was going out so early.

I remember feeling sorry for my dad but he seemed happy to be going off to work.  I asked him why? He smiled at me and said “I’m lucky to have a job to go to and besides that, I’ve got a great lunch waiting for me later!”

He picked up his lunch box and opened it.  And today, right now, if I close my eyes….I can not only see inside my dad’s lunch box, but I can smell it too.  I can smell “baloney”* meat spread with yellow mustard in-between two slices of fresh homemade bread, all wrapped in wax paper.

Tears just welled up in my eyes and I’m not sure why this memory makes me feel so sad today.  Maybe I’m just being nostalgic on this Thanksgiving day.  Because I am older, I realize how hard my parents worked to take care of us.  I have these fond memories of growing up and I am very thankful for my parents.  It is amazing about the power of a smell.

And right now, I can smell our turkey roasting in the oven, and I hope that one day, my own sons’ will recall the smell of a roasting turkey and remember.

I consider myself truly blessed.  I am thankful for My Man, my two sons and all of my extended family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

*Bologna!  (If you are from the prairies, did you or do you still call it baloney?  Yes, that’s how we said it back then).

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BC Blueberry Picking Time!

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It’s July and it’s time to get out there and pick some fresh farm produce.  I love to go to the local farms and pick my own fruit off the plants.

When growing up on the Prairies, my family and I used to go North of my small village and pick whichever berries were in season.  These fruits were not cultivated and cared for by berry producers.  No, the berries that we picked were growing wild.

The wild strawberries were the first of the season, and then raspberries, choke cherries and then blueberries.

Oh now that I think about it, picking these berries was not something I truly loved to do.  No, picking Manitoba berries was hard.

You see, all of these berries except for the choke cherries grew only one or two inches off the ground.   I recall the blueberries being tasty but very, very small as well.

We had to squat or kneel right down on the dirt to pick them.  And of course, there were mosquitoes to contend with and at times, even small garter snakes slithering by us.  Oh, okay so these aren’t my happiest memories!

Come to think about this, I will stay here and stand while picking blueberries at the local farms.

Check out my Blueberry Crisp recipe under Not So Traditional Foods.

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