March Moments

I’m joining Cheryl at Thinking About Home in Gathering the Moments.

At the end of each month she offers a link up for anyone to add their post on gathering the moments of the month. How amazing it is to look back and see all the events that happened in 31 days. March is my birthday month which added a lot to the moments…

Collages6March brought flowers once again in the yard.

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The opening of  the MLS Soccer season and a 90th birthday celebration on the 8th of March. On March 11th Katie and I celebrated her and Andrew’s 3rd wedding anniversary. Andrew is serving our country in Afghanistan. Hopefully this will be the last anniversary for many years that they spend half a world apart.

2014-03-018March brought some traveling adventures, too. Katie and I visited Snoqualmie Falls and then Dear, Katie and I traveled to Eastern Washington on my birthday (March 14th) to spend the weekend with our middle son.

2014-03-17 Dan's March6It’s fun to visit Dan’s country world. We had a nice meal out to celebrate my birthday. This would be one of three different celebrations I was treated to.

2014-03-26 paska class6March brought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook class on preparing Paska and an Easter meal at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, B.C. Katie and I traveled across the border to be part of this event. It was nice to start thinking about Easter.

Wild Ginger1Lots of good food was consumed in March!

Wild Ginger2Last night we were able to enjoy my third birthday celebration with Josh and Laura. We caught up on our lives over a great meal at Wild Ginger in Bellevue, Washington. I’ll share more about our time later and the meaningful gifts they gave me.

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It’s time for the sun to set on March.

What highlights did March bring your way?

 

Paska, Easter Bread, Kulich

paska class 001Paska brought the Mennonite Girls Can Cook together and it continues to play a big role in our cooking story. This past Tuesday we taught a cooking class at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, British Columbia (Canada) on Paska and a traditional Mennonite Easter meal. My daughter Katie had a ticket for the class and she was able to be our photographer as she watched.

So much was going on this evening at Lepp’s and I’ve created some collages of the different parts of the class.

2014-03-26 paska class1Paska, it’s what’s for Easter!

Paska is a slightly sweet Easter yeast bread that is traditional in the Ukraine and Russia. My Russian relatives call this bread Kulich. My mother and relatives always made dozens of loaves in the cylindrical shape using coffee cans or large juice cans.

2014-03-26 paska class9Lots of work goes on behind the scenes right up until Lovella introduces us to the guests and gets the evening going. Judy and Kathy helped coordinate this class and had all the timing and shopping lists ready ahead of time along with recipes to hand out to our guests.

2014-03-26 paska classLovella showed us her process in getting the dough ready to rise for her Paska.

2014-03-26 paska class3Julie talked about the products that make gluten free baking easier these days. She prepared her gluten free Paska and brought it to the class to share. She also demonstrated a delicious mustard sauce for the Easter Ham we would be serving.

2014-03-26 paska class5Kathy demonstrated her Cheesy Scalloped Potato recipe and also showed the ingredients she uses for a gourmet scalloped potato recipe.

2014-03-26 paska class2Judy demonstrated her delicious coleslaw dressing and mixed up a large batch of fresh coleslaw for the class. My daughter Katie is not fond of store bought coleslaw. She really enjoyed Judy’s homemade variety!

2014-03-26 paska class4Bev demonstrated how to make Pluma Moos or Plumi Moos. This is a traditional fruit dish served in Mennonite homes at Easter and other holidays, too. It can be served cold or warm. People use different varieties of fruit for the dish.

2014-03-26 paska class8Bev also demonstrated how to carve a ham with the bone in. She really did a great job.

While we started plating the food for our guests Lovella started working on her dough that had been rising during these demos.

2014-03-26 paska class7She showed us a variety of pans that you can use and how to pinch off small portions for sweet little petite paska buns made in muffin tins. She also showed a loaf variety and a twisted loaf.

2014-03-26 paska class6I had brought a completed Seernaya Paska, sweet cheese spread from home since it has to sit in the refrigerator having all the liquid pressed out for at least 24 hours. I plated it and showed one of the flower pots I use to mold the cheese and the heavy stone wrapped in plastic wrap to weight the cheese and force the liquid out. We used fresh viola blossoms to decorate it. I made an error in the pronunciation of this dish in our first cookbook. It is called seernaya paska not seerney paska . I’ve always had a hard time with Russian grammar. Growing up we always had this spread to serve with our Easter bread.

Lovella finished off the demonstrations showing us how she makes the Paska Icing.

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While our guests ate their main course of ham with mustard sauce, cheesy scalloped potatoes, and coleslaw. We started plating the paska, sweet cheese spread and a dollop of frosting to serve. We also served up a small bowl of pluma moos.

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paska class 311These classes are always so much fun to participate in. The wonderful thing is knowing that the profit generated from our classes goes to Matthew’s House in Abbotsford. Lepp Farm Market partners with us in donating the profits from our classes to this worthy non-profit that is a respite home for children with complex health care needs. You can see and read about Matthew’s house here.

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paska class 005Because the class was all about Easter I have to explain what the X and B on my Russian Sweet Cheese Spread is all about. On Easter the greeting that we always express to one another is

Christos Voskress! Voistinu Voskress!

Христос Воскрес!

Воистину воскрес!

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

So the X (the first letter of Christ in Russian) stands for Christ and the B (the first letter of risen in Russian) stands for Risen, Christ is Risen. This is what Easter is all about.

2014-03-26 paska class11I stole this next photo off of Kathy’s blog. Hope it’s ok, Kathy. If you click here you can see Kathy’s post about our time. Here’s Katie getting ready to take photos of the class.

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Katie and I wrapped things up and hit the road back to the U.S.A. at about 9:30 P.M. We were happy to make it home at 11:40. I’ll admit that I was a zombie on Wednesday and I might or might not have spent the whole day in my robe.

All the recipes for these dishes are in our cookbooks or on our blog.

Cookies!

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We Gathered.

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We huddled, prepared, and watched.

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All hands in!

These hands made Lovella’s Nanaimo Bars, Marg’s Tee Gebaeck-Linzer Cookies, Anneliese’s Peppermint Cookies, Judy’s Peppernuts/Pfeffernuesse, Julie’s Chocolate Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies, Bev’s Honey Cookies. We also served appetizers (Red Pepper Jelly tarts, Judy’s Christmas Tree cheese board, Lepp’s prepared platters of  cured meats, and Marg’s Apple Spiced Cider that was posted on the blog yesterday)

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Each baker had her time in the spotlight!

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Work continued out of the spotlight.

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Judy had her own personal sous chef.

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Even though I didn’t bake any of the cookies I got to stir!

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I watched and smiled because for a change I brought along my own personal photographer. Note to sassy looking self standing behind Lovella: When you are behind the scenes and someone is taking photos you should always remember your weird expressions will get caught on film.

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Favorite moment of the night…laughing about Anneliese’s good old pans!

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When everything was said and done each guest at the cooking class got to take home one of these beautiful baskets of cookies the the girls had prepared ahead of time! All profits from last nights cooking class will be going to Matthew’s House in Abbotsford a non-profit help to families of children with disabilities.

Lovella took this next photo of Katie, my personal photographer for the evening. It was wonderful to have a traveling companion for the 200 mile round trip to the cooking class.

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I managed to get one photo of my personal photographer before the class when we stopped for tea at Clayburn Village Candy shop where we had a lovely meal and we shared sticky toffee pudding for sweets before the sweets!

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Clayburn

Dear and I are headed North again today. I’ll share more tomorrow on our adventure. I’m real happy someone else will be doing the driving the next couple of days.

Hope you all are enjoying some sweet moments in the bustle of this joyful time of year! Blessings…