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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!

Ingredients:

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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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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“Manitoba at Christmas”

Greetings to all this Christmas!

I would like to share some exciting news with all of you.

Recently I was contacted by email by Wayne Chan.  This “unknown to me” person asked if I would be interested in contributing a recipe of mine to an anthology that he was putting together.  At first, I was thrilled and thought “Wow, that’s nice.  Someone had checked out my blog and was interested in adding it to his own book?”   I was feeling quite honoured.

Then I became leery.  Who was this person? Was he a legitimate writer?  Was I going to have to send him money and then get scammed?  Ha, I know…sounds silly doesn’t it?  Maybe it’s a generational thing!

Anyway, after finding out that Wayne Chan really was a writer residing in Winnipeg (my apologies to you, Wayne), I decided to trust him and gave him permission to not only reprint my Ukrainian Christmas Eve Holubtsi recipe but also to include one of my earlier Christmas posts “Oh Christmas Tree“.  Check out pages 141 and 179.

In case you are wondering, I preferred to stay fairly anonymous for this anthology and on this blog.  I use a pen name and only my family and close friends know the “real” me.  I am probably way too paranoid, but that’s just me.

I now have no doubts that this request was legitimate because I received my printed copy of “Manitoba at Christmas – Holiday Memories in the Keystone Province”  edited by Wayne Chan,  in the mail.  I am truly honoured.

As I peruse the book I see that he has gathered nearly 400 years of holiday stories and memories of how Christmas was celebrated by Manitobans, past and present.  The book is presently for sale and is available from Wayne Chan and is also being sold at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg, MB Canada R3M 2A6;   Toll Free 1-800-561-1833).

So, if you are still looking for a unique gift….please consider Manitoba At Christmas!

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‘Twas the morning of garbage day…

‘Twas the morning of garbage day

and outside our street,

I woke to a noise

My dreams now complete!

 

I sprang out of  bed;

My brain now a-humming.

My Man lifted his head

I yelled…

“The trucks they are coming!”

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But wait, I forgot….no Christmas gifts did I buy.

So I threw on some clothes,

I needed to try.

 

I drove like a bat,

I had no time to spare;

I knew that the trucks

Would soon be right there.

 

To Walmart I drove

Searched the aisles for a treat;

Something delicious

That these great guys would eat.

 

When into my cul-de-sac the guys did appear;

I ran out of my house

with nothing to fear.

 

They smiled when they saw me

and gave me a hug,

“Your kindness really counts”

As the cans they did lug.

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So be kind to your garbage guys

and clean up your yard;

It’s not a labour of love

But they work very hard!

 

 

 

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When it snows, it snows…

photo-10We have had a blast of snow in British Columbia this past week.  In our community, temperatures plunged down to minus 10 Celsius, causing us to shiver and look for our Winter sweaters, boots, mittens and scarves.  Snow fell for several days and stayed on the ground.  Some communities had between 10 to 20 centimetres.  Although not that cold compared to many other parts of Canada and the world, it’s unusual for us out here on the West Coast.

If you had to go outside, you didn’t like this weather one little bit.  Many of the roads were slick and slippery. The sidewalks were blanketed and in some cases, impassable for pedestrians as they slogged their way through knee-deep piles.

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Frozen pond – fish swimming under the ice

Some of us however loved the snowfall.  I am not afraid to admit that I love snow.  It is winter in Canada after all and snow is a part of winter.  I guess it’s also a part of me.

As you are aware, I grew up on the prairies.  Winter came roaring in every year and we accepted it.  We dressed for it.  We played outside in it for hours.  As I wrote in earlier blog posts, we created “mountains” to ski down and spent hours tobogganing and playing soccer on the frozen fields.  As children we would challenge each other to see who could catch the most snowflakes on our mittens and count their points before they all melted way.  Our “Frosty the Snowmen” people would be built to last until the Spring thaw.

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Aw, such a sad sight

There’s just something magical about watching snowflakes fall and fill the crisp air.  They swirl around, reach out to each other before they join and land softly on the ground.  If you have witnessed these big fluffy snowflakes falling out of the sky on a crisp winter day, then you will understand what I am saying.  It’s peaceful.  You will see beyond the cold.  You will see the beauty of glistening snow on the trees, grass and even rooftops of houses.  The sun may peek out from behind the storm clouds and these snowflakes will sparkle and shine right before your eyes.

Some areas of Canada will still be digging out for a while yet.  But alas, that is not for us out here on the West Coast.  Today we are back to our seasonal temperatures.   Warmer temperatures and rainfall have melted most of our lovely snow.  It would be nice if it had stayed long enough for us to have had a white Christmas.

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Not much snow left!

I wonder what the forecast is for this coming Christmas weekend?  It’s only a few days away.  Maybe,  just maybe…….

Thank you for continuing to follow me on my blog.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

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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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