Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pierogi Making With Grandma Ruth

Today my grandma and I made 106 pierogi. We're Ukraininan so we call them Pedeha or Vereneke. (well we actually don't call them vereneke but a lot of Ukranians do)

Anyway, we made 106 of these and it took us 4 hours to do it. It was a slow process and it's a slow food as you roll out each piece of dough into a small circle. My grandma can't stand while she does it anymore so we sat at the table. And talked and talked. About all kinds of stuff. Funny stuff and sad stuff and meaningful stuff and gossip about her sister who is going all over the US with a new beau.

It reminded me that for eaons women have been huddled around tables or fires making Pierogi or tamales or homemade pasta or roasted wolly mammouth. More than just food was made around those community tables or fires. Now, in this time, in this place, cooking together is done so infrequently. (Heck, sometimes eating as a family is done infrequently) Last year I made them alone so its been 2 years since I've really cooked WITH my grandma. She's 85 this year, who knows how many more of these moments I get. How many times do I really get to slow down and talk to my grandma for 4 hours? When was the last time you talked with anyone for 4 hours? ( Leighanne and I talked for 4 hours at Starbucks the other evening and I'll tell you it was just as satisfying and less work.)

My grandma lives not far from my parents and I took them a plate for their dinner this evening. My father called both my grandma and I to tell us how much they loved them. The food of his youth made by his momma and daughter. How better to feel taken care of?

The ingredients for this meal are cheap, the experience is priceless.

Here are my two pierogi posts from last year if you are interested in my first attempt making them alone or the recipe.

Lonley Pierogi Maker
Pierogi Recipe

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Birthday Cupcakes

I'm usually of the mind that food made at home is cheaper, healthier and tastes better than store bought or mixes. I can think of only one exception and it's the Wegman's Ultimate Chocolate Cake-My favorite cake!! But that little gem IS expensive and probably has things in it I wouldn't want in my food. (SO I don't read the label!)

Tomorrow is my girlie's 4th birthday celebration with family. (Lucky for my wallet and sanity we have not started the kiddie birthday party thing yet.) She wants pink and purple cupcakes with princess sprinkles. (I have translated that to mean pink and purple shiny sprinkles but I could be WAY off on that one!) On the plus side, I have a CHEAP killer cupcake recipe! I recently had cupcakes from Wegman's that were good. Probably full of crap. Let me tell you, this cupcake kicks the Wegman's cupcake's butt! (Did I just write that? I used to think of myself as edgy..Now I'm threatening a Wegman's cupcake....)

This recipe is by no means health food. It's all white flour. The icing is sweet enough to make your teeth hurt but it actually DOES pipe onto the cupcake like the ones you see here in the picture. The cake is not too sweet so it is actually a great cake for the icing.

It's simple! Not much harder than using a mix.There is nothing in this cake that you don't already have in your home.

It's made with real butter-I AM a butter snob, I'll admit it.

And really, it's a great cupcake!

I was going to type it out, but really, it's not my recipe so I'll just link you to it!

Best Cupcake and Frosting Recipe

It calls for self rising flour but you can make that yourself at home. For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And the complaining continues......

Yeah I know I'm supposed to be writing about Frugal stuff.... I feel unfrugal this month as Christmas nears (even though I am spending the bare minimum) All this spending has me edgy.... And every time I think of frugal things to write I get sidetracked and it never gets done. Possibly because I'm spending on more than just gifts. Parties and donations and cards, the list goes on... Nothing seems frugal to me.....It all seems like too much-Too many presents. Too many cookies and too much to do.

And Govt Patterson has proposed taxes on Haircuts, beer, cinema tickets, cigars, taxi rides, massages, ipod downloads, and sugary soft drinks as well as getting rid of the star rebate check taxpayers receive each year. Ok, when I looked at that list I noticed that in the past 6 months to a year I have purcahsed NONE of those things on the list except a haircut this past August and possibly beer once in a while. (I mean I don't even OWN an iPod!) Still.... These things seem so extreme. Are we not looking into the problem FIRST before proposing more money as a solution??? Serioualy, when I have a financial problem I try and figure out what it is before I look for another source of income....

And finally on my list of complaints is children's underware. Today I took my Grandma Christmas Shopping. We went to get my girl some new undies. Size 4T. SIZE 4 FREAKING T. For those of you not in the know, the T stands for TODDLER. And yes, there in the children's undie section, right near the Dora undies were packs of BIKING UNDERWARE WITH LACE ON THEM SIZE 4T.... What the *&#@? What $&#*%^! genius thinks it's appropriate to dress a 4 year old girl in bikini undies... I have enough ttrouble with princess boots, I about had a heart attack over the underware.... Needless to say, we got briefs. We had to hunt for them, but we found them.....

Merry Christmas...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bloggy Love!

The wonderful Karley over at The Chic and Green Blog gave me this lovely blog award! You must check out her blog, she does daily reviews of the most luscious handmade products online and best of all, she has her own line of Natural Good-For-You Skin Care Products. She was also recently featured in Martha Stewart's Body and Soul Magazine for her Goats Milk Facial Cream. Her shop is vacation until the first of the year, but make it your New Years Resolution to check her out! She also has how very own dot come website going online Jan 1st!

The rules for this award are to list 5 of your addictions and 5 Blogs you would like to recommend for this award!

So on to the addictions!

1) Books-I'm a reader! I read every day. I was an English major in college-Probably because I wanted to get credit for reading books-I probably should have been a business major! Anyway, I love all kinds of books, series mysteries, Classics, and I love non-fiction where I read everything from Gardening to History to How-to's!

2) Coffee-Anywhere, Any Kind, With a Friend, Alone, Shopping at Target, Driving somewhere, In the morning, you get the picture.

3) Gardening-At this time of year I don't have a lot to say about this, but in the nicer months I can wax philosophical for hours!

4) eBay- I have an eBay store that I love to work on. It pays my astronomical property taxes and provides me with a sense of accomplishment that I can work from home. And it's fun.

5) Early American Anything- Every since reading the Little House on The Prairie Books as a child I have been hooked. I love anything Early American. Homes, Decoration, Recipes, etc... My favorite magazine is Early American Life and this past October I went and lived like a pioneer!

Blogs I frequent

The Fine Art Of Motherhood-My best friend Deanna share her mothering, crafting & sense of humor!

Get Rich Slowly
Personal Finance That Makes Sense

Millionaire Mommy Next Door

A self-made millionaire shares her recipe for success, happiness and financial freedom

Leslie Land
Cooking *Gardening* Home Style

Granny Miller
A Journal of Agrarian Politics Philosophy and Practice. This woman is the real deal! She grows her own food, spins wool, cans, cooks, etc....

And of course, Karley's Chic and Green Blog!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Repurposing Cranberry Sauce

I admit it. I love leftovers. I love eating them. And I love planning meals that assure leftovers and I love eating something great twice and only having to cook it once. So for me, Thanksgiving is like Christmas as far as leftovers are concerned.

I love seeing how people use leftovers in creative ways-I've made sweet potato turkey hash! And this past Sat I had a brunch and made home fries from leftover sweet potatoes!

But what to do with cranberry sauce. I make my own and don't like it to go to waste. (This year it was cinnamon orange flavored!) I've seen muffins with this dolloped on top before baking. That sounds good. But I made something I 've never seen anywhere.

My daughter loves popsicles, even at this time of year. Our popsicles are usually made from plain yogurt with fruit mixed in. This week I got creative and made cranberry sauce popsicles! She loved the sauce at the table, what's not to love mixed with a little yogurt! And since there is a good deal of sugar in the Cranberry sauce, I just used a little. It was really yummy, a pretty pink and made a surprisingly Thanksgiving like popsicle!