Twas a Few Nights Before Christmas…

…and a variety of activities are stirring in and out of houses. No sitting on Santa’s lap this year for photos but Santa flew into the Colville airport to hand out gifts to kids. Our grands were there on Saturday morning.

Also on Saturday Dear and our son Dan started installing the siding on the back side of the shop. Earlier in the week Dear installed the back pull up door.

I missed getting outside to get the final photo. They have 3 panels left to go on this side and all the siding will be done. We are so thankful for the help!

Our daughter in law sent us these next photos of Addy and JJ enjoying each other on Sunday. Sibling times like these make our hearts glad!

We had a good trip to Spokane yesterday and found all the things on our list and more.

One of our stops was at the Kiev Market where we load up our freezer with Pelemeni, a family favorite that I’d rather buy than make. While there we bought these lovely Piroshky, two cabbage and one cheese…delicious.

At Costco we filled up our cart with other goodies, some necessaries and a few un-necessaries. I was going to go into TJMaxx but the people line-up outside the store because of “you know what” wasn’t appealing to me and we carried on. Our refrigerators and freezers are full now so no more shopping until after Christmas!

Way down south in California my family was having their annual Christmas Vareniki making day. Vareniki are a Russian treat we’ve enjoyed at Christmas for many years. This year the crew included my two older sisters, one sister-in-law, 4 of our nieces and one grandniece. My mom would be so proud of them all!

My oldest sister Kathy with the finished product which is first boiled and then ready to freeze and then bake in half and half and butter on Christmas Eve. Our family tradition is to stuff these dumplings with a sweet cheese mixture and serve them as a dessert or for breakfast in place of pancakes. We serve them with a dollop of sour cream and maple syrup.

Pierogi and vareniki are actually the same thing. Again, stuffed dumplings, they are common throughout Central and Eastern Europe and most of the old Eastern Bloc states. While vareniki is the more commonly used term in Russia, pierogi are the national dish of Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia.

Today I’ll continue on some cleaning and cooking up some things I can make ahead for all the Christmas meals.

I forgot to mention that for the next two weeks the Thursday Bible Verse Challenge will not be happening. We will resume the challenge the first Thursday in January, January 7th on the letter O.

Perfect Peace Hodgepodge

The verses before this verse are: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4: 4-7

1. How do you define peace?

Funny you should ask that question. Tuesday morning as part of my devotions I read these words from a commentary on Ephesians:

Speaking about Jesus…

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:14-17)

Jesus alone is our peace.

Jesus Christ came as a babe to earth, and in His sacrifice on the cross He Himself became peace for those who trust in Him. His peace is not temporary but permanent. he made both groups, Jews (those who were “near”) and Gentiles (those who were “far off”), into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Ephesians)

Believing in Jesus Christ as Savior because of his perfect sacrifice on the cross for our sins is the only way to peace with God. This is the only permanent peace available.

2. November 3rd is Election Day in the US of A, but did you know it’s also National Sandwich Day? Let’s vote, shall we? egg salad or tuna salad? chicken salad or grilled chicken on a bun? peanut butter and jelly or a bagel with cream cheese? turkey and swiss or ham and cheddar? grilled cheese or pimento cheese? roast beef-corned beef-or make mine veggie? 

I vote for tuna salad, grilled chicken on a bun, peanut butter and jelly, turkey and swiss, grilled cheese and corned beef on rye, please.

3. When did you last say (or feel) ‘no rest for the weary’?

This is my hard working husband every day while he tries to get the shop ‘snow tight’ before the next big snow. Hard to work in freezing temps so his hours are limited but he keeps plugging away.

4. This time last year, where were you?

This time last year we had just had a weekend with my sister Vera in our neck of the woods and I was taking her back to the airport. While she was with us we enjoyed a trip into Canada to enjoy a Persian lunch at Kootenay Kebab in Trail, B.C. and we had a baking day in my kitchen making Piroshky with our kids and our cousin while Dear and our son worked on the shop. (We’re still working on the shop!!) I’m hoping that some day in the future we’ll be able to cross the line again into Canada…

5. Share a favorite song, verse, or quote featuring the word ‘peace’.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you;
You will find a solace there.

Blessèd Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded
There will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

A quote from our pastor this last Sunday that made a few of us laugh out loud.

“The Bible tells us how to live in the nasty now and now.”

Thank you to Jo From This Side of the Pond for asking the questions each week!

Piroshky Recipe

Piroshky are a Russian version of small hand held savory pies. They can also be filled with sweet fillings. Thank you to our sister Vera for watching our mom make these and writing down her recipe and then sharing it with all of us. Enjoy this Bagdanov Family Recipe.

Dough:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups buttermilk at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 cups flour (approximately)

Method:

  1. Dissolve yeast in the warm water and add the tablespoon of sugar, mixing well.
  2. Beat buttermilk, eggs, butter, salt, and 1 cup sugar in an extra large mixing bowl.
  3. Add yeast mixture that has proofed to the liquids and incorporate.
  4. Add flour a little at a time beating constantly until dough forms a ball and comes away from the bowl.
  5. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead well adding flour as needed until dough is smooth and not sticky, this can take 10 minutes.
  6. Form the dough into a dome and spread vegetable oil lightly on the surface of the dough and set the dough in a large bowl.
  7. Cover the bowl with a dishcloth and let it rise in a warm oven or warm spot away from drafts until it doubles in size.
  8. While dough is rising start preparing your fillings, filling ingredients are listed below.
  9. When the dough doubles in size punch down the dough and then let it rise again to about twice it’s size.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Pull off small portions of the dough and on a floured surface roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  12. Cut 3 inch diameter circles of the dough, we used a large drinking glass with a 3 inch diameter as our dough cutter.
  13. Fill each circle of dough with about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the circle.
  14. Fold the circle over the filling and pinch the whole edge securely and firmly so the dough does not separate in the baking process.
  15. Place each filled portion sealed side down on a prepared baking sheet (prepared with cooking spray).
  16. Brush the tops evenly with a mixture of 1 beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of water.
  17. Let the filled Piroshky rise on the baking sheets another time for about 20 minutes before putting them in the oven.
  18. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (approximately 30-40 minutes).

Yield: Approximately 60-64 Piroshky

Fillings:

Ground Beef Filling:

  • 2 pounds ground beef 15% to 20% fat content
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 medium potato grated
  • 1/2 package dry onion soup mix  or substitute Montreal Steak Seasoning to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute onion and potato in vegetable oil until onion is translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and cook until beef is fully cooked.
  3. Set aside until ready to fill dough circles.

Potato Filling:

  • 2-4 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Salt
  • 1/2 onion grated
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  1. Cook potatoes in salted water until soft.
  2. Saute onion in oil.
  3. Mash the potatoes with the onion salt.
  4. Add the sauteed onion to the potatoes and mix well.
  5. Set Aside.

Cabbage Filling:

  • I head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 onion diced
  • Vegetable Oil (approx 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Tomato Paste (approximately 6 oz)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Saute onion until translucent in vegetable oil.
  2. Add cabbage, salt, pepper and bay leaf.
  3. Add enough tomato paste to get a good orange color to the mixture.
  4. Saute until the cabbage is cooked to a soft state.
  5. Taste and add seasonings if needed.
  6. Set aside until ready to fill dough circles.

Promise made and promise kept.

To see all the photos from our baking day click here.

Some of our family prefer the meat filled pies and the portion for the meat filling could fill 30 Piroshky. Because we used 3 fillings for this dough recipe we had enough of the hamburger filling left over to make easy noodle Stroganoff.

Tuesdays With Moisi ~ Rose Hills

Last week our youngest brother traveled to Southern California to surprise our brother Steve and his wife Kelly at a 60th birthday celebration for them. While he was there our older sisters and he decided to go to Rose Hills to see our parents’ headstones. It took a while for our Pop’s to be done right.

On the bottom of the stones, our Mom’s says “The Lord is My Shepherd…” and our Pop’s says …”I Shall Not Want”

Pop’s wasn’t supposed to be larger but that’s the way it turned out and we are just letting it be.

Always happily side by side.

Our mom was famous for her cooking and she would be pleased at how our Piroshky turned out that we made on Saturday. Here’s a sneak peek of part of the process with Moisi’s great niece and his great granddaughter.

More photos and recipe coming soon.

Baking Day

Today, Saturday the 2nd of November, we are having the first Piroshky baking day at our Country Bungalow. I hope to document every step and let you know how we bring everything together to make these lovelies. Our 3 fillings will be tasty ground beef, braised cabbage, and potato. Our baking crew will be managed by my older sister Vera, the rest of us are eager to learn, Jamie, her mom Linda, our cousin Cindy, and myself. Addy will be here, too, and we will let her join in on the fun.

Stay tuned for recipes and photos to come.