Petrosha’s Best Turkey Soup Ever!i

Happy Thanksgiving all. I had a couple of requests to post this turkey soup today. Hope you enjoy it!

Petrosha’s Best Turkey Soup ever!


Carcass from cooked turkey, with some meat bits still on.

10 cups water

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 onions, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and diced

3 potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sherry (optional)

1/2 cup chicken soup base (such as Oxo)

1 cup pearl barley

1 can of Cream of Celery or Cream of Chicken soup

Boil the carcass of the turkey in a large pot of water for 3 – 4 hours. Add a couple of cloves of garlic, a chopped onion, spices such as thyme, oregano, sage for flavour. When the extra bits of meat slips easily off the bones, strain through a sieve. If you can find larger pieces of turkey meat, chop these into small pieces and add them back to the broth. Ensure that you strain out all tiny bits of bone.

Cool the turkey stock in the fridge overnight. All the excess fat will accumulate on the top. Scrape this off and discard.

Next day, pour the turkey stock into a large pot (add up to 10 cups of water to fill your pot if needed.)

Add the chicken soup base, chopped celery, onions, carrots, potato, sherry as well as the pearl barley. Bring this up to a rolling boil, and after about 20 minutes, turn down the stove and continue simmering for another hour or longer. You want to ensure that the vegetables and the barley are thoroughly cooked.

Now here’s the secret Ukrainian ingredient…add one can of cream of chicken or cream of celery soup to the pot. I do not use mushroom because this throws off the flavour.  Stir it in well and continue simmering. This one can will give the homemade soup just the right amount of thickener as well as add extra flavour.  It’s easy and takes the guess work out of adding a thickener.

If desired, add some freshly ground pepper and chopped parsley to taste. No need to add salt as there’s plenty in the canned soup.

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Thankful for many things!

As mentioned in a previous post, I recently retired.  I was a grade school teacher and I taught in the public school system for over 35 years.  Old habits die hard and therefore when Thanksgiving comes around, I am reminded of paper bag turkeys, paper mache cornucopia and little children wearing paper hats that boast a turkey’s head and colorful tail feathers glued in place.  Thanksgiving weekend is a wonderful time to reflect on good memories.

I am not going to reminisce here about school at this time.  I would however like to tell you about a special friendship that I am very thankful for.  This friendship was forged many years ago prior to my becoming a teacher.

As you know I grew up in a very small village and in order to attend university, I had to leave home and live in a city many miles away.  This was a very big change for me and that September, I was quite anxious about being alone and not knowing anyone in the “big” city.

The first day of my new university life was scary to me.  My parents did accompany me to my residence and were quite supportive of me venturing out on my own.  But I quickly found out that was as far as it went.  I really had hoped that at least my mom would come with me to help me register at the university’s Registar office.  But my mom said no, this was something I needed to do on my own.

“The other kids will not know anyone and will be feeling like you so just smile at them and maybe even say hello.”

With that in mind, I ventured off to the Registrar’s office and lined up with other first year students.  As I recall, I looked around and everyone seemed so sure of themselves and I really felt out of place.  Many thoughts went through my mind.  Had I bitten off more than I could chew?  Was this really what I wanted to do?  Maybe I should just turn around and get out of there.   And I started to.

It was at that moment that I did turn around that I came face to face with a girl who smiled at me.  I smiled back and then I said “Hello, my name is Petrosha”.   She said hello back and told me her name was Debbie.  We started up a conversation in that line up and well, as the saying goes, the rest is history.  I stayed in that line up and this girl Debbie became my new friend that day.

After that first meeting, we started to socialize together and we even visited each other’s small towns and met with each other’s families.  A few months later, we ended up renting a house together.  There were many times when we supported one another.  For instance, it was tough to get up for some of our boring English classes that started at 8:00am.  But we did. We motivated each other to study and complete our assignments.  I recall one night when we stayed up together until 4:30am dictating and typing a History essay that was due that same morning!

After graduating from university Debbie and I worked in different towns but we continued to stay in touch.  We shared many life events including standing up for each other at our weddings and watching our children play together whenever we visited one another.  When driving through the prairies we always stopped in for a visit and picked up exactly where we had last time we visited.

We just spent an enjoyable weekend together and yes, we picked up our conversations just like it had been yesterday when we last saw each other.

It has now been 44 years since that first meeting in the registration line up.  With the Thanksgiving weekend coming up, it just felt right to share this slice of my life story with you.  I am truly blessed and thankful for my friendships.  Thank you to all of you who are my followers.   Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Easter 2018

It has been a busy Holy Week and we celebrate Easter this weekend with our family and friends.  I took the Easter basket of special foods to church today to be blessed and our family will be sharing it for our breakfast.

In addition to the traditional foods, I included eight of my newly written pysanky. Why so many?  Well, I like to give away my pysanky and I will not give them to anyone until I have taken them to church to be blessed.

For many years now, I have been trying to improve my pysanky writing skills.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I started writing pysanky with my mom at the age of two.  I was asked last week if I have made the pysanky every year.  To this I had to say no.  Like many of you I started out learning the Ukrainian traditions at home when young.  But as a teenager, it really wasn’t so cool to “be Ukrainian” so I stopped writing them with my mom.  And as the years went by, my career took over much of my time and unfortunately I didn’t make any for a number of years.  But this all changed when I became a parent myself.

When my children were old enough to hold a crayon, I knew that they could also hold a kistka.  It was time to teach them to learn about the traditional art of pysanky.  We started out hand-over-hand and as you can see, they didn’t do too bad at all.  Yes, I’m a proud mom and yes, I have saved all of my children’s eggs.  I’ve included a couple of them in this post.  Also don’t forget to check out my Pysanky photos on my Home page.



Happy Easter everyone!

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To bake ? Or not to bake ?

Happy 2018 everyone !

December 25, 2017 flew by and a week later…swish, so did the welcome in of our New Year.

Now it is January 5, the day before Ukrainian Christmas Eve and once again, the clock seems to spin those hands faster every year.  My theory is that the world is just spinning faster; but in reality, I think when one gets older, we are that much more aware of the days and time.

But wait, as usual I digress from what I really wanted to write about. Actually, it’s something I need to ask you about.

Like the title of this post asks….To bake or not to bake? ….I need your thoughts on cooking holobsti.

I am having a gang over for Ukrainian Christmas Eve and like you, I want to have everything cooked ahead of time.  So this year, I want to know what’s the better, tastier way to prepare holobsti?

Please tell me what you do.  Do you make your cabbage rolls, cook them and then freeze them?  Or, do you make your cabbage rolls and freeze them, cooking them the day of your dinner?

Please comment but before you do let me tell you that I am actually trying out both ways as I write this blog.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.  So, please make a comment below.  I’m always up for learning new ways!

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Celebrating Each and Every Day

Easter, “Velikdenn” – “The Great Day” is here this weekend and like many of you, I am busy preparing our Easter basket and other foods to share with our family and friends.

When I woke up this morning, I had decided to make a butter lamb for the Easter basket that I would be bringing to church to be blessed.  As I mentioned in an earlier post on Ukrainian Easter, we take a basket of special traditional foods to be blessed and then shared with our family on Easter morning.

As I prepared the ingredients and started shaping the butter into a lamb’s body shape, I thought about the time that my sister-in-law made a lamb for us.

SIL is a very special person in our family and in many ways sometimes seems more Ukrainian than I am.


SIL is English-speaking  and did not grow up Catholic.  Now over the years that she has been married to my brother, she has learned some of the Ukrainian language as well as many of the customs and traditions.  She is an amazing cook and I have borrowed many of her recipes over the years.  Her holubsti are so much tastier than mine will ever be !

But I digress.  I started thinking about her and this lamb because a few years back, SIL offered to make My Man and I a butter lamb for an anniversary dinner.  At first, I thought great…it’ll be so yummy.  I love eating lamb but had never seen it prepared like butter chicken (so I assumed).  Little did I know.  SIL laughed and said “No, no.  I’ll make you a butter lamb for your dinner table.  It’s butter and we’ll spread it on our bread and buns.”

She then proceeded to cut into a pound of butter and shape a small animal into it. The animal was a lamb.

Maybe I’m just being nostalgic this weekend but I am very thankful for my sister-in-law and I want her to know it.  I now know how to make my own butter lamb. Thank You SIL!

I don’t think we say we are grateful to our family or friends enough.

As we celebrate this Easter weekend, let’s not just think about the food however.  Let’s think about the wonderful people who share our daily lives.  Let’s celebrate these busy yet fun family and friend times now, each and every day.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

Happy Easter.  Khrystos Voskres.

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Rushnyk update #3

imageJust a quick little post regarding my stitching progress of the Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk.  As you may recall, I began sewing this ritual cloth in November of 2016 for an upcoming wedding of my niece and her fiancé.

This Rushnyk has several birds, roses and a vase on it.  This particular design is derived from an original Rushnyk from the central region of Ukraine.  It is embroidered in cross stitch using only red and black thread.  If I’ve calculated this correctly, there will be over 68,400 stitches in total.

Yikes!  I only just finished stitching the fourth flower.  I still have a long way to go! Wish me luck.

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Happy New Year 2017!

As we prepare to welcome in the New Year, I want to share something special with all of you.

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law told me of a special moment in her life.  It was the day of her dad’s funeral.

My sister-in-law and her sister had walked outside first thing in the early morning to spend a few minutes to themselves.  As they walked they recalled how their dad had always loved the early morning.  At that moment, they looked up and saw the sunshine streaming through the branches of a tree.  It was a heart shape.   The sister snapped this photo.  They both believe that it was a sign from their dad telling them not to be sad and that all would be well.


As we prepare to welcome in the New Year 2017, we ponder all that has been happening in the world this past year.  While there have been happy moments, there have also been sad, tragic times.  You just have to listen to and watch any news and you know what I am talking about.

But tonight, there was a sign left outside our home that gave me a moment to pause, and do a double take.

A small truck came into our cul-de-sac tonight and ploughed some of the freshly fallen snow.  He turned his truck around and look what the tire tracks left behind …..

image   Happy New Year everyone!


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