Addy’s First Easter

We celebrated Easter with our Eastern Washington kids on their mountain that they’ve marked with a B. All through the morning texts flew back and forth from Texas, Southern California and Western Washington with our Easter greeting to each other, Christos Voskress! Voistinu Voskress! We always give each other the Easter greeting, Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed in Russian. And we say it back and forth three times.

This year we had brunch with some of Jamie’s family and a friend of the family.

We had an egg casserole that cooked in the slow cooker. I forgot to take a photo of it. Granny’s deviled eggs had some extras in them that made me want more than one or two. We had the traditional Seernaya Paska to spread on our Easter Bread.

The Grannies on Jamie’s side got in some good cuddle time. Dear read the resurrection passage from Matthew 28 and prayed a blessing on our gathering and then we all dug in.

Brian’s birthday was the day before Easter so we sang happy birthday and ate some pie made in his honor.

More cuddle time for Jamie’s mom, Addy’s Granny.

Addy decided sleep was a good thing for Easter.

The sunshine was so welcome. We were all so grateful for the the warmer temperatures. Addy slept a lot on her first Easter. Wish we had Easter Monday here in the U.S. so our son could have one more day at home but it’s off to work today for him after a nice stretch of paternity leave.

I love Easter. Hope yours was filled with joy!

 

Almighty Hodgepodge

It’s time to ponder Joyce’s questions and find the answers. This Cafe is on the main drag that runs along Lake Washington through Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, and Lake City. This is the 522 bus route that goes to downtown Seattle. We haven’t tried the cafe yet but Dear has read many a book on that 522 route to Seattle and back.

1. April is Lawn and Garden Month. On a scale of 1-10 what’s the current state of your lawn and/or garden. (10=a showpiece, 1=send in the professionals). Tell us about any lawn or garden plans you have for this month.

Haha! As I was mowing on Monday of this week the thought came to my mind that we really could use some professionals to come in and totally redo our lawn. We have more moss and weeds then actual grass. I had the thought that it would be great to meet that guy at the big box store who would come up to me and say “can we come and do a yard project for you?” So I’m saying 1!

We have made some improvements on the walkway and planters since this photo was taken but the lawn remains a mess! This next photo is what things look like since 2016.

2. “Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.”~Thomas Fuller  What does this quote mean to you?

I’ll take it literally and say I never sowed those weeds but there they are.

3. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about God?

Almighty

THE APOSTLES CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; Born of the Virgin
Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate; Was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into Hell; The third
day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven; And sitteth on the right hand of God the
Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of
sins; The Resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen.
4. If we were chatting in person, how would I know if you were nervous?

If I was talking too much.

5. Do you like the color yellow? Would I find any in your home or wardrobe? Daffodils, tulips, roses, sunflowers, day lily, black eyed susan…which yellow bloom on this list is your favorite?

Not much yellow in my home or wardrobe. I do like lemons. Daffodils are my favorite yellow bloom.

6. Flip flops or bare feet?

Bare feet. Flip flops don’t agree with my feet.

7. Tell us about any Easter plans, celebrations, or traditions you’ll carry out this month.

This Easter will be different because we are headed east to spend time with our kids and our granddaughter Addy. We will celebrate but not in the usual way. We love Easter and we generally have a baking day before Easter to make Russian Easter Bread, Kulich/Paska and our yummy sweet cheese spread for the bread called Seernaya Paska. Lamb is the protein of choice for our Easter meals. We are going to have a post Easter celebration when we are back on this side of the mountains and we will celebrate our son-in-law’s birthday, too.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I owe everything that I am and everything I will ever be to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for my robe of righteousness afforded to me because Jesus took on my sins and the sins of the world. I am washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.

Linking to Hodgepodge Wednesday with Joyce From This Side of the Pond.

I’m recuperating today from 2 days of hard labor. Monday was yard day and yesterday after a nice walk with Katie, Dear recruited me to help him finish a shed project at our son and dil’s  that took us till 7:30 last night. They are very happy with their spiffy new shed and we were happy to put it together. I’m a bit behind this morning. Hope to catch up with everyone shortly. Happy Wednesday!

Far from Perfect Hodgepodge…

From this Side of the Pond 1. What is one area of your life where you’re a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?

Cleaning. Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea with this answer. My house is NOT that house that is always spic and span and where you can see vacuum trails and everything sparkles and you can smell cleaning solutions and you are afraid to sit down for fear of messing something up. But…when I do finally decide to clean an area of my home I go for every corner and nook and cranny and behind and under. That’s when I can announce that it’s clean! This is a photo of me getting ready to wash the floors on my hands and knees. Perfection??

Knee pads. Three pocket apron where I like to keep glass cleaning rags in one side and on the opposite side non glass cleaning rags. Never mix chlorine and ammonia as in bleach cleaners and window cleaners! Middle pocket I use for trash and other things I pick up along the way.

The hard side of what I define as clean is when we rent a place to stay and someone says it’s clean and I can see dust bunnies and all other kinds of things that are not clean. I get miffed especially when they add in a $200 cleaning deposit!

Last but not least I want to say I enjoy a cozy home, it does not have to be perfectly cleaned, unless I’m paying for it to be clean.

2. What’s something you find perfectly ridiculous?

Older women in leggings without their bum covered with a long top.

3. What’s a skill you’ve developed by way of that old fashioned saying, ‘practice makes perfect?

Being able to put a meal together that’s edible in a flash or over the course of a day with whatever is in the pantry or refrigerator or with all the special ingredients shopped for ahead of time. In other words, we can eat like common folk or like kings and queens at this old house because of much trial and error and success in the kitchen. There’s very little fear in my kitchen today except for my latest conquests that involve waiting for yeast to rise!

Growing up and into my adulthood before I was married my mother made every meal including school lunches for her 8 children. Her love language was putting food in front of us. Kids in our Russian culture stayed home until they got married. I did not cook or bake or do anything (maybe I made cookies) in my mother’s kitchen growing up. When I got married is when it was all on me. This wasn’t as bad as it sounds because I did learn from watching my mother that many great things are possible in the kitchen with limited resources. I should mention my major in college was Home Economics and I learned a lot in those school years.

4. What’s your idea of a perfect breakfast?

Something savory with a little something sweet, too.

5. What’s a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you’ve taken that you’d rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.

Any trip we’ve taken to Great Britain ranks a perfect 10 in my book. Why? The history, the architecture, the pubs, the Full English Breakfasts, the scenery, the museums, the cathedrals, the Bed and Breakfast establishments, the villages, cobblestones, castles,  Austen,  Tolkien, Sayers, Lewis. Should I go on? Long live the Queen!

6. What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can’t do perfect, how about one that comes close?

“Practically Perfect in Every Way” I think this quote can cover most anything because of the practically part! I don’t expect perfection on this earth. I’m looking forward to perfection when I see Jesus face to face.

Philippians 3:12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

7. How would you spend $300 today?

On baby equipment that a granny/baba would find useful to have in her home. If you have any suggestions let me know. What have you found useful? I’m thinking of looking at garage sales for some of this kind of stuff.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

March is an exciting month for our family. Our little Addy will be making her debut before the month is over. Our son and daughter-in-law will be a daddy and mommy for the first time. Our daughter and son-in-law celebrate 6 years of marriage. I’ll be a year older very soon and I intend to celebrate all month long. Spring arrives in March! Can I hear an amen!? Spring flowers will be popping up all over.

Thank you Joyce From This Side of the Pond for asking the questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Click over to join in the fun.

 

Easter Brunch…

…was a first for us. We always have had Easter lunch or dinner and served lamb. This year our kids from across the mountains joined us for the weekend and had to get on the road earlier on Easter day to head home. We went to an early service and came home and started on brunch. We decided on Biscuits and gravy which was easy to have ready for 10 in a short amount of time. We used our electric skillet to make side eggs for anyone who wanted one or two.

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The tablecloth and runner were purchased at HomeGoods.

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We used shrink wraps for the eggs that I purchased at a Ukrainian market.

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I bought the glasses that are tinted on their base in green and blue from Dollar Tree.

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This is Seernaya Paska which is a sweet cheese spread made with cooked egg yolks, butter, cream, and sugar mixed well and then put in a mold with weight on top to force all the extra liquid out of it. This happens overnight in the fridge.paska class 005

This is one from a couple of years ago that I made using a larger amount and larger mold.

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The signs that the bunnies are holding are in Russian and they say Christ is Risen and He is risen indeed.

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I used little blue and green egg cups for place cards and let each person take theirs home so each household took home a green cup and an aqua cup. I bought the egg cups from World Market. The napkins were a thrift store purchase a few years back. The pearl napkin rings were a Target clearance purchase from several years ago.

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The Russian Easter Bread ready to go with our favorite toppings…

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A nice layer of Seernaya Paska (Sweet Cheese Spread) on top of the Kulich/Paska (Russian Easter Bread) and then top it off with lightly sugared fresh strawberries. Delicious! And on the morning after this next picture shows my Easter Monday breakfast…

12923134_10209189122913439_6883008362400960578_nMy next post will be all about the people we enjoyed this meal with.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are enjoying some glorious sunshiny days! I will have no excuse not to mow the grass. It’s getting a little wild out there with dandelions! I’m feeling better, too, and using less tissues everyday. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

I’m linking up with Laura at Decor to Adore for Thoughts of Home #8.

Labor of Love…

I love Easter and all that it holds and all that it means. I like the idea of new Life, a resurrected Life. The greatest Love that was demonstrated on Good Friday and the Life that was resurrected on Easter Sunday.

Here are photos of our Easter weekend labors of love and celebrations.

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This was the end result of our labors on Easter Saturday. Top left an Russian Easter sweet cheese spread called Seernaya Paska. The X and the B stand for Christ is Risen. On the right is the finished and frosted Russian Easter Bread called Kulich or Paska surrounded by Russian shrink wrapped eggs. The sign in Russian on the bottom left says Christ is Risen so you see where the X and B comes from.  Now I’ll show you some of the process of getting here.

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First you gather your labor force. This is my sister Lana who arrived early so that we could get the Russian Easter Bread (Kulich/Paska) started.

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The rest of the laborers arrived and were donned with their aprons and head scarves.

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At one point in the process of mixing the dough I thought I made a big boo boo so we prayed over the dough and Lana and I laid hands on the KitchenAid.  I didn’t want to start over again. All turned out well…

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Lana showing how her slippers match her apron. I am behind in giving a shout out to My Mother’s Apron Strings after I won this Christmas apron giveaway without knowing I even entered the contest. My sister is wearing it on the reverse side since this is Easter and not Christmas. Thank you Susan for sending the apron to me.

The other photos in the collage are of kneading the dough and shrink wrapping the boiled eggs. While the dough was rising we enjoyed lunch together. Home made tamales and beans with guacamole, chips, and Dan and Jamie’s home made salsa.

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After lunch it was time to prepare the cans and to punch down the dough after it’s first rise. The Peter Rabbit bunting was completed by Katie and hung by Laura and Katie. Josh and Laura gifted me the bunting kit for my birthday last week.

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After the second rise we punched again and prepared the dough by hand for the cans pinching off enough or almost enough for each can we picked for this time around. Short, medium and tall.

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The guys were busy outside in the sunshine solving several world problems.

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The finished eggs and kulich on Easter day. I’ll show more from our Easter table in another post.

When the baking was done and the cheese mold was in the refrigerator setting up for our Easter Sunday meal the kids went out to dinner with their aunt and uncle. Dear and I stayed at home and crashed…

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All of our kids together enjoying each other and extended family fills us with joy and not having to make dinner for them after a full day in the kitchen was a bonus!

We love and treasure these traditions and hope to carry them on through the years and pass them on to the next generation.

I’m linking up with Tuesday’s Treasures hosted by Tom the Backroads Traveler and ABC Wednesday started by Mrs. Nesbitt and carried on by Roger and the ABC team for L is for Labors of Love. I noticed several L’s in this post like Life, Love, Lana, Laura, Lunch, and Labor force.

Hope you all had a good Easter Weekend and some of you got the bonus of Easter Monday holiday which is brilliant!

I’m also linking up to Thoughts of Home #8 with Laura at Decor to Adore.

 

A Glorious Day…

…culminating a wonderful weekend. Easter is my favorite day to celebrate. We had an overload of good things and this post will be full of photos!

On Friday I prepared our traditional sweet cheese spread to enjoy on our Easter bread. With the heavy rock in place to force the excess liquid out of the cheese mold it rests in the refrigerator for our Sunday celebration.

On our way to our Good Friday service on Friday evening we spotted this group of people who were following men bearing a cross. It was such an unexpected thing to see and we were inspired by this act of identifying with Christ.

On Saturday a crew arrived at the house to help with the Kulich, Russian Easter Bread. Katie arrived a little later to help, too, mostly with the Shrink Wrapped Easter eggs.

The dough was ready to go in the cans rise for the final time.

Into the oven they go.

Time to set the table while the bread cools.

I bought crosses made out of nails for each person to take home with them.

On Sunday after a great church service I added the last touches to the table while the lamb shoulder was slow cooking in the oven.

I’ll share our appetizer recipe later in April on the MGCC blog.

Besides the shrink wrap eggs we tried the rice dyeing method, too.

Lamb shoulder with a caper fresh mint sauce, caramelized potatoes with onions and rosemary, cucumber tomato salad.

For dessert, Russian Easter Bread (Kulich/Paska) with Seernaya Paska (Sweet cheese spread) and strawberries.

Our mom would be proud of our efforts this year. She loves a smooth top and no airy holes when you slice it.

After our filling lunch and dessert we decided to take a walk.

After our walk we enjoyed sitting on the deck in the sunshine!

We truly had a full to overflowing good time!

Now what I haven’t shared yet is that on Saturday my computer crashed. Oh my…that’s scary! Thankfully there was a repair system that we were able to access and everything is now backed up and restored. It took several hours to accomplish this but everything is up and running again.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend!

Nadia’s (Mom’s) Kulich / Paska

What many of you call Paska we called Kulich growing up. This is my mom’s Russian Easter Bread Recipe that I quartered because the amount she would make is quite daunting for me. We have cut it in half in years past. 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 for her Kulich from 2001. I have a 2009 and 2012 recipe, too. This one was easier to quarter. Here’s the link to the original. My dear mom passed away from this earth in September of 2013 so I cherish her tweaked recipes.

Ingredients:

2 pkgs rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon sugar

4 egg yolks
1 egg
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 ounce apricot brandy
1-1/2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of half a lemon
About 2-1/2 lbs of flour, sifted (about 7 cups)
Vegetable oil to coat the rising dough

6 to 7 one pound or two pound cans for baking. You can use loaf pans or large muffin tins if you don’t have the cans to bake them in.

Add yeast to the lukewarm water and milk and sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Make sure the liquids are lukewarm. Let this mixture dissolve and sit.

Beat the egg yolks and egg together.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand-up mixer.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture slowly mixing to combine and then beat to incorporate well.
Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm, not hot, and slowly incorporate into the creamed mixture.
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 sifted flour about a cup at a time.
Once you cannot beat the dough any longer using the mixer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the remaining 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 ones above. If there is a label make sure to take it off. If the can has a lip at the top 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.
Now the dough is ready to put into the prepared cans.
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.(approximately 30 minutes or more depending on your oven.)

Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely standing up. Some people cool them on their sides turning them often to keep their shape. We found this time that they cool just fine and keep their shape standing up so we didn’t bother with that step!

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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.

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I’ll be trying this Kulich/Paska recipe quartered at the end of this week. I’ll let you know how it goes and how many coffee can shaped loaves it makes. We got seven loaves out of this recipe although we shorted some of the cans.

Are you preparing for Easter?