Category Archives: Recipe

Nana’s Ukrainian Pierogies Recipe (aka Pedaha)

When I think about my sweet Ukrainian Nana, the first two things I think about are love…

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Baby Eric!

And FOOD! When I was growing up, she was constantly making something. Canned everything, jams, birthday cakes with coins inside and buttercream icing, shortbread CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!

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Banana splits every time I stayed overnight, Easter dinners, homemade pizza, lasagne, cabbage rolls, and of course, pierogies.

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Looooved her pierogies. She used to make batches of them and send them along to us. It was always such a treat. Those pierogies remind me of childhood. In my family, we always called the pierogies pedaha. I think it is a Ukrainian thing.

My Nana turned 100 a couple weeks ago, so for her birthday celebration we made some of her favourite dishes. My cousin sent me Nanny’s pierogi recipe, and I was on pierogi duty.

The pierogies are not overly difficult to make, but they are definitely time consuming. I made them over two evenings, after work. Along with wine, which I always recommend when cooking.

Filling ingredients:

  • 6-8 large potatoes (I actually used 10 because I didn’t want to run out, and I had a bit of mashed potato leftover)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (so I used a pre-shredded bag of cheddar and mozzarella, and I definitely noticed a difference between my filling and my Nana’s. Hers was more yellow in colour and just a bit tastier. Nana is adamant about the sharp cheddar cheese)
  • Salt to taste (Nana uses a lot, always. Salt in everything)

Dough ingredients:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/2 lb butter (half a stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp sour cream (secret weapon!)
  • 1 1/4 cups water

Yield – 55-60 pierogies

Filling directions:

As my cousin tells me, our Nana used to boil the potatoes with the skins on, and then peel them after they were soft. As you can imagine, trying to peel boiling hot potatoes is not a fun time. We think Nanners did this to add more flavour to the potatoes, but I’m sure it isn’t necessary. My cousin Chrissy has made these a bunch of times, and she followed Nanny’s directions to a T and finally she was all “Why am I trying to peel these boiling hot potatoes?!” so, yeah. Peel the potatoes and then chop them up prior to boiling. Much more boiling-friendly. Add chopped onion to the peeled, chopped potatoes.

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You can do this the night before and leave in the fridge if it’s easier (I did, but not necessary).

Once the potatoes are boiled and soft, you can remove the onion or keep it in the filling. I chose to keep the onion in, because I LOVE ONION.

Add cheese and more salt if you like (Nana likes!), and mash those puppies up.

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Dough directions:

Nanny suggests that you boil the water and add the butter, and then wait for the butter to melt and the water to cool. My cousin assumes this was because when Nana was first making her pierogies there were no microwaves. This is silly. Melt the butter in the microwave. Use lukewarm water, add the butter, eggs, and sour cream. Mix together, and then add the liquid to the flour.

You can use an electric mixer if you like, but I know our Nana is all about using her hands. This is how she inserted her love into everything she made (and love makes things taste better). So make sure your hands are nice and clean, and then mix that dough up. Knead it until it is smooth with no floury bits.

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It doesn’t look like much, but it goes a long way.

You can also make the dough the night before and use chilled dough the next day, but I actually found that warm dough worked best for me. It is the opposite of Nana’s shortbread Christmas cookies. In that case the dough is easier to work with when chilled because when it’s warm it sticks to evvvvverything! But with the pierogi dough I found the stickiness to be manageable. I also use parchment paper with my Nana’s Christmas cookies, and roll the dough between it, but for the pierogies I did not because I found using parchment paper was actually more of a hinderance. I know my Nana likes to feel that dough with her fingers!

Get a good handful of dough, and put it on a well-floured surface (the flour is KEY for no stickiness).

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Also put flour on top of the dough. Roll the dough into 1/8 in thickness.

Use a cookie cutter or a cup to cut in 2″ circles. Add a spoonful of filling in the middle.

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Seal by pressing the edges together. If the edges are not sealing, dampen them with water. Create your semicircle of pierogi deliciousness.

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After cutting your circles in the dough, put your leftover dough scraps back in your bowl of dough to be re-rolled.

Repeat until you have all the amazing pierogies.

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Place in a singler layer on a baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and then freeze the pierogies. Once frozen, lightly flour, put them in freezer bags, and back into the freezer. This stops them from sticking to each other (for the most part, I find it is almost unavoidable to have a little stickage once you cook them, even with Nana’s pierogies – I remember them being a bit sticky).

To cook the pierogies, boil water, salt, and some butter, and throw in 10-15 pierogies at a time. Once they rise to the top they are ready!

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These ones were boiled and then buttered by the staff at Willows Estate, I just brought them in frozen.

You can fry them afterwards if you like, but our Nanny never did, so I have always liked them just soft and doughy like she used to make them.

Eat them with lots and lots of sour cream! (and salt!!!)

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Nanny loved her own pierogies when I made them for her birthday!

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Did I mention she’s 100?!

So go forth and make your pierogies and enjoy them with your family!!!

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Photo source – quite the article written about our Nans on her birthday 😀

Dawnald and Marcia’s Baby Shower

Sunday was my ol’ pal Dawnald’s baby shower.

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I have blogged about Mark and Dawn’s Jack and Jill, Dawn’s wedding shower, her Ottawa bachelorettetheir Jamaican wedding, their housewarming, and now there’s gonna be a baby!

Usually baby showers are for the ladies, as we all know, but this was a co-ed shower. Not quite as risqué as it sounds…but Evan and the rest of the boys did come and show their support for Mark. And then all the lads hung out in the basement mancave and drank beer. Evan said he had a really good day and I heard a lot of hearty laughter coming from down there, so while we may never know exactly what went on, it sounded like a good time.

We did have male representation upstairs with us though… Chester was there.

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Who is sporting a onesie with everyone’s favourite Dirty Dancing quote.

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(I really miss Patrick Swayze)

And the newest addition to the inflatable family, Kyle.

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Who looooves to smile.

Kyle spent most of the afternoon riding Dawn’s baby’s new rocking horse.

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The rest of us spent most of the afternoon eating and watching Dawn open her presents. The food table was pretty awesome.

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I spent a lot of time hanging around there eating. I brought a taco dip from Eat, Shrink and Be Merry (recipe if you follow that link, it’s awesome! I made it without shrimp though).

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And I need to highlight Joanna’s cucumber topped with avocado, smoked salmon, red pepper, and dill sauce. Because holy moly.

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Delicious.

And that wasn’t even lunch! That spread was followed by Dawn’s mom Brennie’s FAMOUS macaroni pie.

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Also delicious.

And then there was the best baby shower cake I’ve ever seen.

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That even reminded me of Dawn. It is from Kake Kreations in Whitby if anyone is interested. The breast area was chocolate cake and the belly was vanilla. Both were really, really good.

And Emily’s sister made her amazing sugar cookies that have been making their rounds to all the events lately.

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I can’t get enough of them.

Dawn scored some pretty great gifts, and I think she is all set! I like baby showers more than wedding showers because I like to ooh and ahh at all the cute baby things.

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Like baby tutus.

As part of our bigger present, Evan and I got their baby a very attractive soother.

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Not creepy at all.

And as is customary at baby showers, we played some games.

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Put a frozen soother in your drink and be the first to yell “MY WATER BROKE!!!!” when the soother breaks free of the ice. Right up our alley sense of humour -wise. Sherrie won this in like 2 minutes and we called her a dirty cheater. But I also won a game!

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Guess the celebrity baby. I was the only one to guess all the babies correctly and I am very proud of myself for this because there was a trick answer. Babies 1-4 were pretty obvious, but #6 was giving me some trouble. I originally thought it was Samuel L. Jackson, but then I noticed the “It’s a Girl!” sticker so at the last moment I changed my answer to Dawn (who was not even on the list). And Dawn was correct, not Samuel L. Jackson. Though I’m sure you could understand my mistake… Dawn and Samuel L. Jackson are practically twins.

Anyway, here was my prize.

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Probably the coolest baby shower prize I’ve ever received. I would say I think the prize buyer knows me, but anyone who knows me knows that rye makes me uncharacteristically angry… Only in excess though, so I should be alright ;).

It was a really great day with all my friends and the beautiful mama-to-be.

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Who is just glowing and looking fantastic. She doesn’t have much longer to go, so wish that girl luck! 

The Vietnamese Rice Roll Party

Time for another post about all the amazing meals Evan has been making for me! Hooray, lucky you guys!

I realize I have been talking a lot about this lately and I hope that’s not annoying. I don’t want to become one of those girlfriends who raves on about how OMGAMAZING her boyfriend is all the time. Not that I don’t understand wanting to. I almost wrote a blog post about how amazing Evan is the other day and then I stopped myself because I realized probably no one cares except for me. I mean, let me know if you do want to hear about that because I’ll gladly go on about it…

However, some things are just too good to go undocumented, and for me the things that I can’t seem to shut up about are food related. Mainly because they are foods that I would never think to make for myself! For example, Tuesday night I got home late from volleyball and made myself a peanut butter and jam sandwich for dinner. Very gourmet, I know. Let me know if you want the recipe.

The night before Evan made me red curry chicken and lentils with tumeric. Homemade, from scratch. And also potatoes with toasted mustard seeds.

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Those are bamboo shoots by the way, not noodles. I think it was the best curry I have ever had, even from a restaurant. I will have to post the recipe another time because I have never actually seen him follow a recipe (he just wings it, what is up with that?!) and I have no idea what he did to make that. All I know is it involved coconut milk and a lot of different spices and I couldn’t keep up. I just chopped vegetables. I am usually good for that.

Last week I arrived at Evan’s pad after work and he had decided he was going to make authentic Vietnamese rice rolls. I was SO EXCITED about this I started hopping around their kitchen and clapping. Could not stop myself. And I was involved in that whole process so I can confidently talk about it.

First you cut up your veggies into thin strips.

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Their kitchen has been looking like a produce stand ever since they got the juicer. I like it. Anyway, we used carrots, cucumbers, and also bean sprouts.

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And mint leaves!

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Evan had bought very thin strips of pork and beef, so he cooked that up in separate pans with some oyster sauce.

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Pork

The meat was amazing, the beef especially. It really made the wraps I think.

While Evan handled the meat, I was on rice noodle duty.

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I’m not going to tell you how to cook noodles, hopefully that is a skill you have been able to master by now. But I will tell you about the rice paper for the wraps because it is a little more tricky. The rice paper looked like this:

rice-sheets

I don’t have a picture of the actual kind we used but it’s basically all the same, whatever brand you go with. In the package they are literally like tough, thin paper, so to be able to roll them into wraps you have to soften them up. To do this just stick them one at a time in a bowl of hot water for about 30 seconds. They will become soft and pliable.

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And see-through. And sticky! They will stick to everything, especially themselves, and if you try to roll them on any kind of hard surface they will stick to that. We just used a clean tea towel to minimize all the sticking.

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It worked out well. We spread the wrap out, added the meat, veggies, rice noodles, mint, and sesame seeds that Evan toasted (he just used a pan for that), and then we rolled those puppies up.

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Shazzam. Pretty authentic looking, right?

While Evan and I were working on the wraps, Brotherman was doing the juice thing.

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I love how you can just throw anything into the juicer and it will turn it into delicious juice. I want to get one, but then I’d have to clean it so I’d probably never use it. I’m actually surprised these guys have been using theirs for as long as they have. I totally expected that to be a fad but it’s been over a month and they use it daily.

Anyway, Evan knows about my intense love affair with all things saucy, so he had an ample selection for me to dip my rice rolls into.

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The soya sauce and the sweet chili sauce were my fave dippers.

It was a really, really great dinner. We had so many rolls.

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I loved it.

The wraps were pretty easy to make, just a bit on the time-consuming side. If you cut up your veggies in advance that would save a lot of time though. Highly recommend!

Low Calorie Vegetable Soup

Well bonjour and good eeeeeevening.

You probably noticed in my post yesterday that veggies seemed to have eluded a lot of my plates this weekend. Sure I enjoy indulging, but I am an everything in moderation kinda gal, and I didn’t completely snub my veggies.

Yesterday I made crock pot vegetable soup for dinner and it was pretty darn yummy, and it is practically calorie-free.

In that mix is:

  • half of one of those huge bags of carrots (probably about 10), chopped
  • 8 stalks celery (almost an entire bunch), chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • pack of Knorr vegetable soup mix
  • 1 (900ml) carton low-sodium beef broth (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups water

I put it in my crock pot in the am and let it cook allllll day long on low. It was veggie-packed and seriously delicious. Also perfect for lunch again today.

Pretty sure I will be eating it all week, because it made a ton. Definitely a good way to sneak in a bunch of veggies if you are sick of salad (which I am not, but I like to switch it up).

Workout

I took my gym’s 7:30 BodyPump class tonight, and man, I am finding the most recent release pretty hard. I have done it a couple of times now, and I am continually struggling at the end of squats, triceps and lunges. Squats especially, I felt like the track went on forevaaaa. Definitely a good workout though, and one that I will be feeling tomorrow.

This post is on the short side and a little on the lackluster side, but it is late (school night late, not weekend late) and I am off to get ready for bed.

Have a great night!

Use What You Have

Hello and also Salut!

I am feeling pret-tyyyy much back to normal today, and my appetite seems to have returned in full force. All day today it was snack attack after snack attack.

My healthy chicken sandwich and carrot sticks for lunch left me wanting a little somethin’ more, so I followed that up with a little soup supplement action from Druxy’s. I then ate an apple crumble VitaTop for dessert, but I still wanted more so I broke into my afternoon snack early (an apple), and continued to snack my way through the afternoon.

My snacks were all pretty healthy (minus the cookies I ate when I got home), but man, I was insatiable!

I have to say though, my mid-morning snack today was quite filling and is quickly becoming a new fave of mine.

Morning Snackage

Vanilla Greek yogurt topped with a mix of frozen berries. Now that it is well into fall, fresh berries are expensive little buggers, so I have been passing them up and opting for frozen instead. Maybe this snack isn’t groundbreaking, but this is new to me and I am loving frozen berries with the yogurt. I put them on top of the yog in the morning and then when they thaw and you stir them up they make the entire yogurt all berrily delicious.

Dinner

The theme of tonight’s dinner was use what you have. I didn’t really meal plan the last time I went grocery shopping and I didn’t pick up a lot of “dinner foods”. This is not good because now I am scrambling at dinner time to find something to make, which can lead to me abandoning making dinner altogether and picking up fast food, and I try to stay away from that.

Originally my plan when I got home was to quickly grab my gym clothes, hit up the gym for about 45 minutes, grab something from the grocery store that would be quick to make, and then head back home to make dinner.

But when I got home I was starving, and I didn’t want to wait to eat dinner, I wanted dinner and I wanted it soon.

I scrounged around in our cupboards and found a can of tuna. That was all the inspiration I needed. I was making tuna casserole.

I have never made tuna casserole before (my bestie Lisa makes a mean tuna casserole), so I googled around for some recipes but I didn’t find any that included the ingredients I wanted to use. I also wanted it to be healthier than the typical tuna casserole. I basically just ended up throwing a bunch of shtuff together and hoping for the best.

Tuna Casserole

Gone are the days of natural lighting (til April…)

It was not the best tuna casserole I have ever eaten, I will say that, but it was still pretty darn good, and it was quick and easy, so that is always a win in my books!

Now I am off to the gym! I’m hoping to put in some romantic time with the arc trainer.

Here is my tuna casserole recipe.

Tuna and Vegetable Casserole

Ingredients

  • half a bag of whole wheat egg noodles (you could use regular as well)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 can low-fat cream of celery soup (mushroom would be good too, but celery was what I had)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 3/4 cup water (you could use milk, but I only had almond milk and, well, blech)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning mix (maybe a tablespoon?)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Boil the pasta until done, drain, then transfer to large bowl (or back into the pot)
  4. Add in onion, celery, carrot, and tuna; toss to combine.
  5. In another smaller bowl, mix together soup and water until smooth.
  6. Pour the soup mix into the pasta bowl and add breadcrumbs, Mrs. Dash seasoning and black pepper; toss until combined.
  7. Transfer mixture to baking dish.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes. Top with cheese if desired and bake for another 3-4 minutes (I left the cheese out – I know, what was I thinking?!)

It has a lot of steps, but I promise they are easy.

Have a great night!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

Good afternoon!

This morning after sleeping in a little bit (9am, my teenage self would not be impressed), I woke up with a serious hankering for pancakes. I have been seeing pumpkin pancakes around a lot, and I had some pumpkin sitting in the fridge that I haven’t really been using lately. I thought I’d try my hand at making my own little cakes full of the pumpkin goodness.

I googled around for recipes, but I wanted pumpkin oatmeal pancakes with minimal ingredients and I had a hard time finding the perfect recipe for me. In the end, I decided to do my own thing and hope for the best.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes

They turned out really well, and I was impressed with my handiwork. They were delicious.

I am not a cook by any means, but I find pancakes really hard to mess up. Here is the recipe I ended up using:

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients together, pour onto skillet and cook a la regular pancakes. Makes about 6 decent-sized, thick, pancakes.

I only had a little bit of maple syrup left, so I topped one of my pancakes with that, and then the other two with Nutella.

Yumminess

This made me wish I had actually put Nutella in the mix! I loved the chocolately flavour. So good. Ah well, next time.

Though I am now a fan of pumpkin, I found that I couldn’t really taste the pumpkin at all in these, but it added a smooth and fluffy texture that I was a big fan of.

Workout

After breakfast, I leisured for a bit, completed a few chores around the house, cuddled with this little ball of cuteness…

Winnie Kitty

And then hit up the gym!

I debated going for a run outside, but I wasn’t really feeling it. Since that is pretty much the only form of cardio I’ve been doing lately, I thought I’d switch it up and use the arc trainer at my gym.

I actually really enjoy the arc trainer. I feel like it’s a better workout than the elliptical (just my opinion, I don’t know if that’s true), and not as boring as the treadmill. I also can read a little bit, so I spent most of my 40 minutes on the arc trainer reading magazines and catching up on my celebrity gossip.

Before the arc trainer I did the 20 minute fit fix, which consists of 9 machines designed to work every muscle group in your body in a short amount of time. Perfect if you are trying to squeeze your workout in. I hadn’t done the fit fix since last year around this time, and my weight has increased quite a bit! I love being able to notice a difference in my strength. It is motivating.

And then I stretched. A lot. My muscles have been feeling really tight this week, particularly my calves. I gave them some much-needed love and attention.

I was very sweaty afterwards.

Gym Mirror Self Portrait

I love going to the gym on Saturday (once I get there). I feel refreshed and ready to take on the weekend! In particular, ready to take on some all-you-can-eat sushi action and my friend Sherrie’s going away party – both on the agenda for tonight! 🙂

Enjoy your Saturday!