Tuesdays With Moisi ~1

This is our Pop’s story dictated verbally by him a few years ago. I’ll be sharing excerpts every Tuesday. When I add to his story or explain a photo I will Italicize my words. Our Pop’s words will not be italicized. Our mom does not come into Pop’s story until “Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 9” even though I’ve posted photos of her before #9. I have very few photos from our parents’ life in Russia and Persia. At the end of my Tuesday posts I’ll add links to all the other posts.

Our Pop is the boy on the right standing next to our paternal grandmother babushka Martha. Our Aunt Anna who is the one remaining family member alive is on the left side next to our paternal grandfather Timofey.

In his own words as translated into English from Russian:

My name is Moisi Timofeyavich Bagdanov.  The name Moisi is the anglicized version of Moses.  In the Russian language it is pronounced as Moses. I list my birth date as May 25th, 1923.  I’m sure of the year but I’m not sure of the actual day of my birth because I was born at home and no records were kept in those days.  All that I know was that I was born sometime in May, according to my mother. We lived in a village called Saleem in southern Russia about 200 miles south of present day Rostov.  Our village was in a network of about 30 other villages mainly inhabited by Russian Molokans. And that is who we were.

I was born into a large family – twelve children altogether – and we never seemed to have enough of life’s necessities.  My earliest memories involve my cousin Michael and me. We were inseparable playmates. One day we went into the fields where watermelons and cantaloupes were growing.  We had a knife between us and so decided to check out how the fruit was ripening. I very much remember the verbal tongue lashing I received as a result of our informal field testing!  Another time I remember being chased from my grandfather’s bee hives because of the mischief we were causing there. In the spring of 1928, at the ripe old age of four, I was placed on my first plow horse and thus began my career in farming.

In the spring of 1929 I remember the agricultural advances that were made when our village and two others invested in a tractor, threshing machine, and a combine for the wheat harvest.  By today’s standards they would be very primitive, but at that time they were a godsend. The whole village participated in the harvest with singing and gratitude because of these labor saving devices.  I also remember a very small dairy near our village which produced cheese, cottage cheese, and butter. We kept these products from spoiling by packing our underground cellars with snow in the winter. We poured water over the snow turning it to ice.  That small cellar served as our refrigerator for the entire year.

(Seven of the 12 siblings remaining together in the USA in 1982. Jim, Vasilli, Pop Moisi, Anna, Mikhael (Mike) who was visiting the U.S.A. for the first time, Alex, and John.) The next photo has the spouses added. Aunt Anna’s husband was deceased already. Uncle Jim was divorced.

Mikhael did not imigrate to the USA like the rest of these siblings in the photo. After escaping to Persia with the family and living there for several years he heard things were better in Russia so he returned. He was immediately arrested and sent to Siberia. Miraculously he survived his time there. He applied to visit the U.S.A. many times and was finally granted permission in the early 80’s when these photos were taken. The U.S. family had not seen Mikhael for 40 years and this visit was such a happy reunion for everyone. When my parents took their trips to Russia and then returned as missionaries to Russia in the 90’s they were able to have many good visits with Mikhael and his family.

Uncle Mike center top row next to Pop(Moisi) and sister Anna with babushka Martha (Moisi’s mother) sitting in front of them. All my brothers and sisters. Six of us were already married in 1982. Leonard and Lana, the twins were not married yet. Several grandchildren and great grandchildren not born yet.

Steve, Len, Greg, Ellen, Leonard, Uncle Mike (Mikhael), Moisi, Aunt Anna, Lana, Mom, Nick, Vera

Kelly, Kathy holding Melissa, Tim, Nina (Tim’s first wife who died in the early 90’s from complications of Cystic Fibrosis), Babushka Martha, Aunt Maria(Uncle Mike’s wife), Baby Stephen, Sandee, Fred

John, David, Michelle, Josh, Daniel, Debbee, Danielle, and Michael

Moisi’s kids, my brothers and sisters and me are in bold print.

Some details and history about Molokans from an earlier post of mine can be found here.

Married Molokan Women


This is a photo taken in Mexico sometime in the late 40’s I think. A Molokan Community was established in Baja California years ago. This shows the typical Molokan outfit that married Molokan women wear to Church functions then and now. The head coverings are called a Kasinka. If you visited a Molokan church today you’d see this exact look that the women are sporting here. I think it’s a wonderful photo and wanted to add it to my Molokan Posts. My other posts besides my Russian Recipes can be found here and here. If anyone out there knows who these ladies are just leave a comment and let me know. Most of my immediate family left the Molokan church in the 60’s. I left well before I’d have to wear this outfit and I never intended to marry a Molokan so I never was in the position to have to wear it…

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and demanding a ransom for me to access them. I’m slowly cleaning up many of my posts where PB have added ugly black and grey boxes where my photos used to be. So frustrating!

Nadia’s Kulich ~ Russian Easter Bread

Happy March everyone and because Easter is just 22 days from today I wanted to post the recipe I promised for my mother’s Russian Easter Bread, Kulich. The big question is…will ellen b. finally attempt making it this year??? We’re off for our beach walk and had a very busy day yesterday so I hope to get around to blogs later and a post about my Friday.

I promised my mom’s recipe for Kulich. Now what you need to know about my mom and recipes is that she ends up tweaking them from year to year so this recipe is the last written down recipe for her Kulich from 2001.


16 egg yolks
4 eggs
5 C. sugar
1 quart whipping cream
1 quart half and half
1 T. salt
5 cubes butter ( 2-1/2 cups )
1/2 C. oil
1 shot apricot brandy
6 teaspoons powdered vanilla
Zest of 2 lemons
8 pkgs rapid rise yeast
1 T. sugar
1 Cup water and 1 Cup milk
About 10 lbs of flour

Of course most of you will need to cut this recipe in half or quarters cuz this is enough for an army (my extended family)

Add yeast to the cup of water and cup of milk. Make sure the liquids are lukewarm. Let this mixture dissolve and sit. In the meantime beat the eggs, only use a stainless steel bowl. (because mom says it will work better that way). Now add the 1 T. of sugar into the yeast mixture and stir to dissolve.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture and mix to combine. Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm. Add the half and half mixture to the eggs. Mix in the vanilla and brandy. Add the yeast mixture and the salt and beat with a mixer. Continue beating and add the lemon zest. Continue beating and add the flour about a cup at a time. Once you cannot beat the dough any longer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the flour by kneading the dough. The dough should be kneaded very well approximately 10 minutes. You should knead the dough until you can cut it with a knife and it is smooth without any holes. Place the dough in a stainless steel bowl. Take some oil and pour a little on the dough and spread it all over the dough. Make sure to turn the dough so it is coated evenly. Cover with plastic wrap right on the dough and a dish towel on top of that. Place in a warm place away from drafts to rise. (My sister usually puts it into the oven that has been warmed slightly.

It is now time to prepare the coffee cans (1 lb. and 2 lb. cans are the best) Cut circles the size of the bottom of the cans out of wax paper. You will need four circles per can. Make sure the cans are well greased. Put the 4 circles in the bottom of the cans.


Use a empty and clean coffee can like the one above. Take the label off. You’ll need to use a can opener to cut the lip off the can. I hope these pictures will make the process easier to understand.

Cut sheets of wax paper long enough to line the sides of the can and tall enough to be 2″ above the rim of the can. Use crisco to seal the ends of the paper.

Here’s a can with the bottom and sides lined with the wax paper.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it over. Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. Punch it down again. You will take a portion of dough about 1/3 the size of the can. Knead it and form it into a smooth ball that you can easily drop into the can. Let the dough rise again inside the can until it is at least double in size. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top. Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely on their sides. Cover them with a towel and turn them several times so they keep their shape.


To go with this bread my mom always makes a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes. For my mom’s Sernaya Paska (cheese spread) recipe click here.

Happy Birthday Little Brother! 50 Years Young Today!

Happy Birthday Dear Brother Tim! These first photos are from your very first Birthday Party in January of 1959 at 4635 Oak Street, Pico Rivera, California. This area was known as Montebello Gardens at the time or Jardines as our Hispanic friends called it…


Talk about a blast from the past. Look at the cousins around this table. The Loscutoff’s, The Bogdanoff’s, The Shvetzov’s and the hosts of the event the Bagdanov’s.  I wish the photo clearly showed Dedushka at the end of the table sitting next to Pop. Look at you so pleased with your cake!


Here you are in a classic 50’s highchair enjoying your cake with Mom watching.


Time for presents with cake still on your face and your older cousins Alex, Bill, brother Fred, Walter, and Jim surrounding you. Vera on the right…


Spring forward to the present! It was fun celebrating with you and Letty at the California Grill in Camarillo on Saturday night.

Dear and Ellen b
Happy 50th Birthday Tim
You are a wonderful brother, always ready to help us and any of your siblings and friends. Thank you for your compassion and kindness. We appreciate you! And did I mention that I can remember the day you were born and how happy I was when Pop told us we had a new baby brother! Enjoy your day…
Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage. They have blacked out all those photos on my blog posts. OH BOTHER! I’m slowly cleaning up my posts.

Vareniky the Bagdanov Way ~ Russian Recipe

The Ladies got together to make Vareniky together at my niece Debbee’s house. Look at those cute aprons on Michelle, Melissa, Debbee, Letty, and mom! I want to say at the top here that this recipe is for a lot of vareniky. So you’ll need to do the math and cut it down. This recipe makes about 40 or 50.


6 eggs
1- 1/2 C. half and half
1/2 C Sour Cream
1 T. Oil
3 T. sugar
Flour sifted (at least 8 Cups)

Update! sorry peeps! I forgot the Salt…you’ll need to add 1 Tablespoon of salt to the dough, also.

Extra cube of butter and half and half for sauce at the end…

Sift flour. Make a hole in the center of the flour. Combine eggs, half n half, sour cream, salt, and sugar. Beat until combined. Pour into the hole of flour. Mix and knead adding flour until dough stays together. Dough will be very soft.


3 lbs. farmers cheese or hoop cheese
2 eggs
1 t. salt
3 T sugar

Beat all ingredients together until combined.

Roll out flour mixture. Cut circles about 3″ in diameter. Put about 1 heaping teaspoon of the cheese in the center of the circle. Fold in half and pinch ends together then flute with finger. Place the vereniky in boiling water until they come to the surface and float. Drain and cool. At this point they may be frozen.


This is what they are suppose to look like. Just remember this one was made by a pro!


That’s the cheese mixture in the bowl that you fill them with.


This is the boiling step.

To serve, place vareniky into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Melt one cube of butter and pour over vareniky. Heat up half and half and cover the vareniky with the half n half. Bake at 375 degrees until the half n half boils. Serve with sour cream and preserves or syrup.

My family traditionally has these for dessert on Christmas Eve when they get together. They are also a favorite for breakfast. The joy of receiving and eating these treats is always wonderful. I’m going to have to be in L.A. for one of the cooking parties so I can really learn how to make them and enjoy them in the future!

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage. They have blacked out all those photos on my blog posts. OH BOTHER! I’m slowly cleaning up my posts.

Sad Day in My Family

Today we got word that our cousin Vera Bogdanoff had died of complications from an aneurysm she had a few months ago. She was progressing well but had complications from an infection two days ago. Alex is my father’s nephew, my cousin. They were Molokan like my dad but left the Molokan church years ago to follow Christ more earnestly as did my parents. Vera was one of my relatives on my dad’s side that I could relate to and enjoy whenever I was around her. She will be missed dearly. They moved recently to Texas just before she had her aneurysm to be close to one of their daughters. My parents were just in Texas over Thanksgiving visiting my brother and his wife and they all were able to go to the convalescent home and visit her. They sang songs in Russian to her and she cried and mouthed some of the words with them. It was a sweet time.


This is a photo from 52 years ago on their wedding day. They were married in the Molokan church. It is the Molokan tradition that the groom and his extended family gather on the day of the wedding for a blessing and then go to the brides family home to pick her up (this is where the bride leaves her mother and father and clings to her husband) and go to the church for the wedding. There is always a married couple chosen to be the bride and grooms chaperons/escorts (best man and maid of honor type deal) My cousin Alex is in the middle of this photo flanked by my Uncle Bill and Aunt Nora who were his chaperons. I’m the littlest one on the front row with the coat on surrounded by my siblings and cousins. My dad and mom are next to my Aunt Nora in the back. Molokans still dress like this for church, weddings, and funerals.

My parents will be flying to the Dallas area for the funeral. We know that Vera is with her Savior and rejoicing. We are praying for her 2 daughters and son-in-laws, grandchildren and her husband, my cousin Alex who will miss her dearly.

Photobucket has blacked out all my photos I was storing on their site and they are holding them hostage. I am working on updating my more than 4000 posts.

Show & Tell ~ Russian Heritage

Both of my parents were born in Russia in the 1920’s. They escaped into Iran and then met each other, were married, and immigrated to the U.S. shortly after WWII. I have a collection of Russian lacquer items and other souvenirs my parents brought back from more recent trips to Russia. Some of the items I acquired here in the U.S.


The little silver finish one is a gift from my SIL Christina that she found at an antique mall.

Lacquer Boxes with Fairy Tale Scenes, the larger one on top was an anniversary gift from Dear.

Matroyshka Collection


Wooden Spoons and Cups

Russian Barbie (Katie’s)

Winnie the Pooh in Russian

This was one of the dreaded school books we used. I had to go to Russian School on Saturdays. I thought this was the worst punishment in the world! Sometimes I’d hide when it was time to go and then when they found me I would stomp my feet and declare “I don’t want to go to Russian School.! I’m an American! “

This is the group of close friends and family that immigrated to the U.S. from Iran after WWII. They were close even though they were from different religious backgrounds, Russian Molokans, Russian Baptists and Russian Orthodox.

There are more Show and Tell Friday sites to see at There’s No Place Like Home.

My photos are being held hostage at the Photobucket site as of July 2017.