Tag Archive | Food

Perogies and the 12th Day of Christmas

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – DAY 12: January 6th

What is the 6th of January?

a.  Ukrainian Christmas Eve

b. Epiphany

c. the 12th day of Christmas

d. the perfect opportunity to pig out on perogies and cabbage rolls

Answer: ALL OF THE ABOVE!

January 6th is the proverbial 12th day of Christmas, and it is also the FIRST day – Christmas Eve – of Ukrainian Christmas.  (If I was really orthodox about it, I could start all over with yet ANOTHER 12 days of Christmas if I wanted to. But I won’t. I think I’m finally Christmassed out.)

Why do I care? Mostly because I LOVE perogies and Ukrainian Christmas is the perfect opportunity to indulge in my favorite childhood Ukrainian food. Both of my paternal grandparents emigrated to Canada from the Ukraine. They were both culturally and linguistically German but part of the lingering Ukrainian legacy in our family was – you got it – perogies!  And cabbage rolls!

Growing up in Winnipeg, Canada, where there is a large Ukrainian population, a number of my childhood friends celebrated Ukrainian Christmas. I was always a little jealous that we didn’t, because they always got two rounds of gifts! (Either that or their parents got great deals on buying presents because they could wait and shop the AFTER Christmas sales!)

Nonetheless, we enjoyed the perogies and cabbage rolls.

So guess what we had for dinner tonight at our house? Yep. Perogies. (They taste a lot better than they look.)  But maybe that’s just because I grew up on them.  I’ve linked the recipes if you want to try to make them from scratch. They’re kind of a lot of work, though. So I just stock up in bulk at Costco every time I go to Canada. 🙂

Do you have any favorite foods that connect you to your family history? What are they?  Do share!

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3 French Foods

Three French Foods

So, tonight, what is technically the “third day of Christmas” according to the traditional calendar, finds our family in the Great White North (Canada). This is my Home and Native Land and we are here for Christmas round two with the Canadian relatives.

I LOVE coming home to Canada. There are so many things that are great memories for me of growing up here, especially around the holidays.

I never did have “three French hens” (a la “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). But I DID learn to love some French (Canadian) foods, even though our family isn’t French Canadian.  (Kind of hard to get away from French in Canada, you know. It’s on everything from signs to shampoo bottles.)

But that just served to give me a love for the language, I think. That and sitting through French class every day from kindergarten through twelfth grade and two years of university!

But I digress. This is supposed to be about food, not language.

Here are three French-Canadian foods I love at Christmas (with links to recipes I use personally!):

1. Buche de Noel (pictured above) – Yule Log. Hillary made this one for her French class Christmas party at school. She made another one for our family on Christmas Day.  Yum!  And especially good because it’s a wheat-free cake; perfect for our gluten-free Tim.

2. Tourtiere – Meat Pie. Made with ground beef and sausage and seasonings in a traditional flaky pie crust. Ooh la la!

3. Split Pea and Ham Soup – we make it the day after Christmas using the Christmas ham bone and leftover meat. Super!

Check ’em out … try ’em out … let me know how you like ’em!

 

Joyeux Noel … et Bonne Année et Bonne Santé!

(Merry Christmas and Happy New Year/Good Health to You!)

A Candy House in Powdered Sugar Snow

     

A CANDY HOUSE IN POWDERED SUGAR SNOW

Today we finally finished the gingerbread houses … our friend Katrina is the hands-down winner; look how beautifully hers turned out.  Now we can nibble it away through the rest of the 12 days of the Christmas.

Dave and Katrina are our Australian friends from England who live in California and who spend a lot of the holidays with us. Katrina is so fun and creative; she inspires me.

We all need friends who do that, don’t we?  🙂

Merry Christmas 2011!

CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN DAY 10: CHRISTMAS MORNING, CINNAMON ROLLS, AND FAMILY ALL DAY LONG
“I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays, let them overtake me unexpectedly, waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why this is Christmas Day!” ~Ray Stannard Baker

Everyone has their memories and expectations of what makes Christmas special, don’t they?  And more often than not, those memories are built around home and family and food. At least, for our family. Activities, too. But first and foremost I think food is the hands-down winner!

My daughter-in-law recently got me turned on to Pinterest, which is where she found a photo of a new twist (pun intended) on cinnamon rolls and asked me to make them. Another winner! Mom’s Homemade Cinnamon rolls are a family favorite, but this idea made them even more fun for Christmas. (Photo above; thought you might like to see how they turned out.)

I loved the quote I found for today’s blog. It’s true. We do tend to have too high of expectations of Christmas Day (and other family holidays) sometimes. The reality is that family ALL DAY LONG is an exercise in patience for even the most loving of families (which ours is, but still …). It’s a great opportunity, though, to learn to wait for each other, honor each other, be forbearing toward one another, to be consistently UNoffendable … and to laugh easily and not think to highly of ourselves.

We did THREE rounds of present exchanging, TWO rounds of full-on holiday meals, and ONE round of an over-the-top spread of Christmas desserts. Not to mention multiple games, walking the dogs in the park (whew, so great to get out of the house and get some fresh air!), and now cleaning up the aftermath … so crazy. So fun. So rewarding. So grateful and happy.

I can’t believe I blogged EVERY DAY for ten days at the busiest time of the year. Wow. I don’t have an excuse now for not doing it any other time, do I? 🙂

Joy and Christmas blessings to all … and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” ~Ephesians 4:2

Yay! for Christmas Cookies

CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN DAY 2: FAMILY COOKIE RECIPES

“A balanced diet is a Christmas cookie in each hand.” ~Anonymous

I am Scottish on my mom’s side–which makes me predisposed to love things like Celtic music and dancing (love the bagpipes and the Highland Fling!), plaid, argyle, woolen scarves, and SHORTBREAD.  (The tightfisted-with-money part of being Scottish somehow escaped me, which I’m a little sad about because I think that might have been a helpful quality. Oh well, you can’t have everything.)

Today I am baking Christmas cookies with my girls. This shortbread recipe has been in my family since who knows when and is my earliest memory of a FAVORITE Christmas cookie. And the dough tastes great, too! Hayley made this batch.

Whipped Shortbread: 1 c soft butter, 1-3/4 c flour, 1/2 c icing sugar, maraschino cherries. Cream butter thoroughly. Combine and add dry ingredients at low speed on blender. Roll in small balls, press in a piece of maraschino to the top of each. Bake @ 325 for 13 minutes.

I believe it’s important to not just make DELICIOUS foods on holidays, but to make them with MEANINGFUL recipes. The kind that evoke memories of special people and special times–or that make you feel connected to whom and where you came from. For our family, that means the Lawrence family’s ubiquitous Chocolate Crinkles and Snickerdoodles. Muddy Buddy’s a la Auntie Deanna.  Grandma Magner’s Nuts ‘n Bolts. And for Christmas dinner, Aunt Ethel’s Cranberry Christmas pudding (simmered on the stove top in a coffee can to be especially authentic).  With caramel sauce.  Num.

Family traditions are important. Family is important, period. Whom and where you came from is an important part of who you are, whether you like it (or them) or not. It keeps you connected to the bigger picture in life.

I am grateful for a family who loves God, loves each other, loves me, and loves Christmas cookies.  🙂

“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother … and your mother …  And I know that same faith continues strong in you.” 2 Timothy 1:5


Why So Thankful, Charlie Brown?

The morning after.

(Thanksgiving, I mean.)

Coffee with eggnog. Yesterday’s cinnamon rolls followed by warmed-up apple pie (a nutritious breakfast). Add to it pancakes made of fried leftover mashed potatoes, bacon, and maque choux (Don’t worry about trying to pronounce it. It’s a Cajun dish made with corn and fresh tomatoes… it’s delicious!). With a little fried turkey topped with cranberry sauce on the side.  Num!

But that’s not what I’m mostly thankful for.

We watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special this morning, too. As they’re walking along, Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally says, “What’s Thanksgiving got to do with us?  What do WE have to be thankful for?”

Let me answer your question, Sally.

We are thankful for ABUNDANCE. For FREEDOM. For being able to live in a country that was founded on a fundamental FAITH in the power and enduring truths of God (even though we’ve not done the greatest job of sticking to them!). We will never know how many ways that foundation has permeated our daily lives and influenced the freedoms and abundant blessings we enjoy (… that is, until we lose them!).

On a personal level, I am thankful for a FAMILY who loves God and each other and loves being TOGETHER. Who love to LAUGH and have FUN  and enjoy LIFE and FOOD(!) together.  I am thankful for God’s PROVISION and PRESENCE in our lives. I am thankful for SATISFYING WORK that I love and wonderful FRIENDS to do life together with. I am thankful for JOY and PEACE and FAITH and HOPE that passes understanding, and always keeps me looking UP.

What has Thanksgiving got to do with US? A chance to pause and reflect on what’s important. What counts. What lasts. And Where it all comes from.

And give Thanks.

What are you thankful for?

Family Togetherness

We had a fun weekend … Husband and I took the Youngest Two and  Dog  over the mountains to see Eldest Son and his Beautiful Wife, and to get a bit of a Getaway ourselves. Middle Daughters were in New York and London respectively. Not wanting to be stuck home missing them, we decided to embark on a trip of our own!

Base camp was a beautiful resort winery perched on the Columbia River Gorge. We had a gift certificate that needed using (thank you very much!) which entitled us to one night in a gorgeous cliff house overlooking the pool and canyon.  Stunning.

The resort was having a harvest festival so we got in on some activities like this cooking demonstration by Chef Bear and his assistant where we learned Useful Things like how to make Homemade Ricotta Cheese and what to do with the plethora of Homegrown Tomatoes that may be spilling out of your garden (what luck, that’s me!). Roast ’em, process ’em, then throw ’em in ziploc bags in the freezer till you’re ready to make spaghetti sauce out of  ’em.  (Who knew?)

I won’t post the recipe for the Homemade Ricotta Cheese until I actually try it myself.  Sounds a little sketchy to me.

In the morning, above-mentioned kids joined us for a fabulous brunch.  Seriously amazing.  Of course, all Youngest Daughter wanted was chocolate cupcakes and giant shrimp.  Together on the same plate.  Ugh.  Oh well, that’s the beauty of a buffet.

Before we parted company, we all took a hike.  I started off calling it a Nice Walk but we quickly discovered the downside of a resort built on a cliff.  Going down is a Nice Walk.  Coming back up is a Gruelling Hike. Everyone rebelled.  Except the dog, and only because he can’t talk.  It was still fun.

Then home again. Glad we took time to spend together this weekend.  Family Togetherness is a Big Deal to our family. There’s a lot of things maybe we haven’t done right, but I do know we’ve made a point of this one. Our kids are our Best Friends.  🙂

What are some ways your family spends time together and builds “family togetherness?”