Friday, December 21, 2012

Heritage Food: Hulobzi, Halupsy, Pigs in a Blanket, or Cabbage Rolls

My mom used to make Pigs in a Blanket.  Sometimes her German would come out, and she would say Halupzi, just like when she would say they used to "schlegga the bones", which meant "lick/suck the bones" of the chicken when growing up.  She would also make a messier version in which the "bed wasn't made" where everything was mixed together and not tidy.

This recipe is from my aunt's recipe book on my dad's side.  It was my grandma's recipe.  She died when I was 3, and I don't remember her.  I also found another recipe for them in another cookbook that added raisins.  Weird. 


For cabbage rolls:

1 head cabbage                  2 c. cooked rice
1 small onion, chopped     1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. lean pork                1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

For topping:

2 T. brown sugar
1 c. water
1 c. catsup
1 c. tomato soup 

Remove outer, wilted cabbage leaves and core.  Place cabbage in large pot of boiling water; simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Remove, drain.  Gently pull off leaves; set aside.  Mix meat, onion, rice, salt, and pepper until it holds together well.  Place a tablespoon of rice mixture on a cabbage leaf and wrap.  Place in a greased casserole.  Combine topping ingredients and pour over rolls.  Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. 

p.s.  Do you say catsup or ketchup?  I like ketchup better.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

For a couple of years, I've been on the lookout for good non-box/mix brownies.  Here is my own recipe I created by tweaking other recipes and swapping out the oil for pumpkin.    The brownies are a little hard to cut, but I love them!  If you heat the cocoa powder (usually with water) before adding, it's supposed to let the cocoa "bloom".  That's why I decided to heat the pumpkin.  Next time I'm going to add amaretto. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 t. instant espresso
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. chocolate chips

Heat pumpkin in the microwave (3 minutes maybe) in a medium bowl.  Add instant espresso and cocoa powder to the pumpkin and mix well and set aside.  Mix sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together in a larger bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add pumpkin mixture and then chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Twenty years

***Finally decided to post this.  It was sitting in my draft box for a couple of weeks. *** 

My name is Luka.
I live on the second floor.
I live upstairs from you.
Yes, I think you've seen me before.

It was summer.   We were driving to an oil distributor convention and to visit Uncle Willy in Minnesota.  I was in high school and in my pre-country music phase.  We had just driven through that part of Western Minnesota on the way to Minneapolis where it's hard to find a radio station that wasn't playing country music.  My dad who usually preferred gospel or "country western" let me listen to what I wanted as long as it didn't sound too heavy or like "devil music" since we had survived the land of rural music.  Luka was one of the most popular songs on the Billboard Hot 100, so it was played at least once an hour on the radio stations.  To amuse me, my dad would start singing the phrase "My name is Luka" every time it came up in the song.  That is why I think of my dad every time I hear that song.

It's been 20 years since my dad passed away.  It's hard to believe, but so much has happened since then.  Whenever I hear of someone older die, I have to calculate how many more years they had than my parents.  Then I remember that it's the moments that count, not the years. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Heritage Food: You Say Plachinda, I Say Blachenda

I'd like to share on this blog some of the foods that my mom made that are part of the Germans from Russia heritage.  Since my mom and grandma aren't around (and other relatives live in another state) to share these with my son, I feel that it's important to share them with him myself.  If I don't make them every year, at least I will have them recorded somewhere.

The first recipe I'd like to share is taken directly from an in-law family reunion cookbook from my sister, Marcia.  Basically it's for pumpkin turnovers or tarts.   There are different versions of the filling, but basically it consists of pumpkin with the usual spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Sometimes pepper is added.  Speaking of different versions, there are also different versions on the spelling.  In the church cookbooks I have, I've seen it called plachenda, blachenda, plachinda, or blachinda.

I highly approve of this recipe!  I usually don't make my own pie crust (or pies for that matter) and figured out it was easier to handle the dough after it is chilled.   Since I made very small tarts which were easier for my son to handle, I had a lot of filling left over and improvised by adding an egg and making a pie.  Yum!



2-1/4 c. flour                               1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder               2/3 c. shortening
1/2 tsp. salt                                 1/4 c. milk

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and shortening as for pie dough.  Add milk and mix lightly. 


2 c. cooked pumpkin                  1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. sugar                                1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt                                1/4 tsp. allspice

Mix filling ingredients thoroughly.  Divide dough into six equal parts; roll out to about 7 inch rounds.  Place 3 heaping tablespoons pumpkin filling in the center of each round.  Fold over and seal edges.  Prick tops with fork.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.  

When my mom would make them, I remember the dough being less sweet with less shortening.  She would always try to make a recipe healthier, so I guess that's where I get some of my habits from.  She probably would've tried it with Splenda or Agave nectar nowadays, maybe even would've added chia or ground flax seeds.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Motherlaterhood part I

About two years ago today, I journalled this entry:

Today, Baby Kim from Kansas, you are 9 weeks along according to sonogram.  I found out you existed on 08/10/2010.  I had to wait about 20 hours to tell your daddy about this face-to-face since I was in Kansas City at the time.  Your daddy is excited.  Even though I am sometimes a little irritable (ask Daddy), knowing you are here has lifted my mood immensely.  I love you so much already!  Yes, you will change our lives!  You will change our priorities.  You will make us grow and experience uncomfortable situations.  You will bring love in our lives that we have never known before.  I am happy to be experiencing this with you and Daddy.  Because of you, my life is better already.  I am dreaming of the day when you come out and Daddy and I teach you "the happy dance".  I do want time to take its course and have you come out healthy while we will be preparing for your arrival.  

I know that you will have "older parents" than some of your friends.  I do feel that your daddy and I are...

And then I got interrupted.  I'm not sure what I was going to write next.  I was 40 years old.  Yes, I had my first child one week after turning age 41.  In medical terms it's called advanced maternal age.

My mom would be thrilled we finally had a child if she were on earth!  She would think it was so funny that we waited so long since I used to complain that I had the oldest parents in my class at school.  She was 36 when she had me.  For being the unplanned child, I'm amazed that my family always made me feel like I was a blessing.

I hope my son feels that way, too!  He wasn't unplanned, just late.  I will tell him about his grandparents.  I will tell him how much their absence has impacted my life.  I will tell him how he helped fill some of the absence, but that's not the reason he is here on earth.  He is here to make the world a better place.  He has made my world a better place!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Monarch caterpillar

This caterpillar has 6 antennae instead of 4.  I'm interested to see if it continues with 6 as it goes to the next instar level.  
I'm going to try to push mesh around the milkweed plants when I see a monarch caterpillar to keep bugs and wasps from eating it. 
An American Lady.
A couple of Checkerspots.

This butterfly migrated to my leg while taking pictures.

Addendum (06/04/2012):  The above caterpillar is unable to be located, as the rubber band broke around the mesh.  I will hurry up and press the "publish" button before I change my mind.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Where I'm at

I started this blog to share things about life and my creative endeavors, reminding myself that I have a unique perspective of the way I view the world.   I feel it's also a way to "put myself out there in the world" even though I'm not a talented artist.  I feel a need to create, be it arts or crafts.

Before becoming a mother, I had a lot of time to dedicate myself to pottery.  I have been able to throw in the past 11 months, but never know when I can come back so have to make things in one sitting.  Sometimes I can't get back to the studio for a month.  My mind also feels so full of other things that it's hard to focus on what I want to accomplish.  I love touching the clay.  I love the feel of it running through my fingers while the wheel is spinning.  Heck, I even see wedging as a form of meditation and centering.  But lately I have left the studio feeling disappointed.  The voice inside my head asks me "Does the world really need another crappy piece of pottery from me?" or "I've been throwing for five years and this is the best I can do?".  I know I won't quit.  I'm just in a rut.  I have no great ideas and not enough time to try different techniques.   My mind is on overload.  Didn't I used to call this my "circular therapy" before?

 Last Sunday I got the chance to go on a little photo walk by myself.  It was nice change of pace to be able to take pictures of things that didn't stay still unless they were asleep.  Sure, the pictures won't win any contests, but this is my view of the world at one moment in time.  It's amazing to think if someone else took these pictures, they wouldn't come out exactly the same.  That's the reason I'm going to hit the publish button instead of the delete button.