Common Cents Hodgepodge

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Wednesday has popped up again so time for the Hodgepodge. Jo From This Side of the Pond asks the timely questions and we take a stab at answering them. Thank you Jo!

1. This week’s Hodgepodge lands on Ash Wednesday which signals the beginning of Lent. Do you mark this season in some way? If so tell us more.

We are aware of the season of Lent but we typically do not mark this season with ash on our foreheads or choosing something to give up for 40days. In the last few years I have used a few Lenten devotionals during the season but mostly stick to my daily Bible reading and meditation on what I’ve read in the Bible. 

Did you grow up ‘celebrating’ Lent?

My first exposure to Lent was at the schools I attended in Southern California. There was a high population of Catholics and I was intrigued when I first saw some of my classmates come to school on Ash Wednesday with ash marks on their foreheads. Then to hear they couldn’t have gum or candy or cuss for 40 days gave me pause.  The religion I grew up in distanced themselves from liturgical and Catholic traditions. 

Is attending church part of your weekly routine?

 Meeting together with fellow born again believers of Jesus Christ has been both my husbands and my practice since childhood which we have continued into our married life. The fellowship with other believers is an encouragement that we don’t want to miss. Worshipping God together corporately is a very important dimension of the Christian life. 

Are churches open for in-person worship where you live? 

Our church has been meeting since June of 2020. We still offer online services and we have a ‘mask only’ room at the church during services and we have a ‘social distancing’ room available, too. In our main sanctuary you will find those who wear masks and those who don’t. 

We ceased meeting together from March until June of 2020 when the first mandates were instituted. When we returned to meeting again in June you could feel the corporate joy. It was overwhelming and good. 

2. When is the last time you sat beside a ‘real’ fire?
In our son’s backyard sometime in the last year? Most of our fire experience since we moved to the country has been tending our burn piles in Spring and when the local fire danger is low and burning is permitted. 
Do you have a fireplace in your home? Wood or gas logs?
Our country bungalow does not have a fireplace. 
Favorite thing cooked over a fire? 
I’m not a fan of smores so I’m going to say a hot dog.
3. Something that’s currently got you fired up? 
All forms of wickedness. I’ll leave it at that because I don’t want to get anyone else fired up. 
4. February 17th also happens to be National Cabbage Day. Who knew? Do you like cabbage?
Is cabbage on your menu Wednesday? Of the following cabbage dishes which is your favorite-coleslaw (mayo or vinegar?), sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, cabbage soup, kielbasa and cabbage, grilled cabbage, bubble and squeak, kimchi, or haluski? 
Cabbage is not on the menu but if it was it would be Golupstzi (Russian Cabbage Rolls), or Borsch (Russian Cabbage Soup). I love these dishes now but growing up I’d pull the cabbage off the cabbage rolls and I hated the cabbage part of Borsch. 
  • borsch-snoqualmie-001
5. Do you hang on to pennies?
Not recently but back in Dear’s early years he started coin collections and we still have those.
He has pennies from 1918 to 1993 in this collection.
What do you do with them?
Nothing. Funny coincidence is that we just retrieved Dear’s coin folders from the filing cabinet in the garage on Monday before these hodgepodge questions were posted on Tuesday. 
Last thing you purchased for $1.00?
A Valentine’s day card at the Dollar Store.
Last thing you purchased for $5.00? 
A Costco rotisserie chicken for $4.99 last Thursday. One cent shy of the $5. 
6. Insert your own random thought here. 

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It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

Even though we don’t observe Lent with ashes or fasting we do read and meditate on God’s Word and read sections of scripture that lead up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus to fix our minds on what Jesus did for us and why we celebrate Easter, Christ’s Resurrection Day. Our Easter celebration is one of our grandest along with Christmas. 
My photograph of the sculpture above (Jesus washing Peter’s feet) was taken at the Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, California back in 2011. 

Golubstzi (Cabbage Rolls)


We grew up enjoying Golubtzi, Голубцы, a Russian version of cabbage rolls. I didn’t develop a taste for cabbage until my adult years so I’d peel off the cabbage and just enjoy the filling. Today I really enjoy cabbage in all it’s cooked or uncooked forms! Once you get the cabbage leaves ready to go this is a simple recipe to make. This is my mother’s version. There are many other recipes that differ from hers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 pounds ground beef, 15% fat or higher
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked rice cooled
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup, (approx. 10-3/4 ounces)
  • 1- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups water

Method:

  1. Core the cabbage leaving it whole.
  2. Boil the head of cabbage in a pot of water until leaves separate easily.
  3. Drain leaves and let them cool while you prepare the filling.
  4. Combine the ground beef, rice, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  5. Once the leaves are cool enough to handle you can trim some of the thick vein of the cabbage leaf to make it easier to fold.
  6. Place about 1/3 cup of ground beef mixture onto a cabbage leaf and fold edges over and roll up.
  7. Place in baking dish with folded seams down.
  8. Continue until you use up the ground beef mixture and cabbage leaves.
  9. Saute the chopped onion in a little oil until it is translucent.
  10. Add soup, tomato sauce, ketchup, and water, mix well and bring to a boil.
  11. Add a little of this sauce to the sour cream to temper it and then add the sour cream mixture to the sauce and mix well.
  12. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls.
  13. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or longer, till hamburger is fully cooked.
  14. Yield: 12-18 Cabbage Rolls depending on size of your meat balls.

Serve with your favorite green side dish and some good bread to soak up the sauce!

Tips:
You may need two baking dishes to accommodate more than 12 rolls.
While the whole head of cabbage is cooking in the pot I use tongs to remove the leaves gradually as they start to release from the head of cabbage and put them on a kitchen towel to cool. I keep checking as I prepare the other steps in the recipe.
I use a sharp paring knife to trim the vein starting in the center of the thick vein away from me to the outer thicker part of the vein. This makes it easier to fold the cabbage around the meat.

One of our sons doesn’t tolerate milk products so I made a small batch of the Golubtsi and covered them with the sauce before I added the sour cream to the rest of the sauce. We find that using hamburger that is 15% fat or more is better for these as the meat that has less fat in it can be dry.

I originally shared this recipe on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog but wanted to have it here on my blog, too.

B is for Birthday Blessings!

Two of our sons and our new daughter-in-law have birthdays in January (15, 16, 19) along with a nephew, brother and niece (16, 22, 25). On Friday night last we had an early birthday dinner celebration for our oldest, Josh.

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2016-01-16 Josh 2016

Since we were having a couple Russian dishes for the main meal the table was set in a Russian theme.

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We had Loppsha (Russian Noodle Soup) for our starter.

Our main dish was Golubstzi (phonetic spelling of the Russian pronunciation) for cabbage rolls. This photo is from another time we had this dish.  I forgot to take a new photo on Friday night.

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Our son and daughter in law were celebrated in Northeastern Washington, too. We couldn’t be there but they sent us this photo from their celebration with their Birthday Cookie!

pictures dj15 For our boys, our dil and the rest of our family who have birthdays in January we pray this special blessing from the Lord…

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

I’m linking up to ABC Wednesday started by Mrs. Nesbitt and administrated by Roger and a team of volunteers. Thank you!