Ukrainian Christmas 2014…And a Tribute to Baba

family

Ukrainian Christmas is just around the corner – January 7 to be exact. My love of cooking, and ultimately this blog, was inspired by the two ladies that are in the photo above with me (I’m the one in the middle). The one on the left is Claudia, and the one on the right is my Baba, Claudia’s Mom. And yes, we’re wearing the same sweater but in different colours. This photo was taken almost 10 years ago on Christmas Eve. It is one of my favourite photos in the world. Claudia and Baba were cooking up a Ukrainian food storm in the kitchen and I was trying my best not to get in their way – hence why they are wearing the aprons and I’m not. Food, especially Ukrainian food, is such a big part of my life. A lot of the memories I have of growing up or the holidays has to do with Claudia and Baba cooking in the kitchen.

It gives me great pleasure that the most popular recipes on this blog are the ones that are Ukrainian. I also love hearing all the stories and comments that you, my followers, post here about your childhoods and how these recipes remind you of your family. It really does bring me to tears at times because this was truly a huge part of why I started this blog.

After a long and tough fight, we lost Baba this week. She was by far the strongest lady I have ever met in my entire life and I will miss her dearly. She left behind a legacy of love, humour, and most of all – zest for life and cooking. This post is dedicated to her and the delicious Ukrainian dishes she passed on to Claudia and to me.

Cabbage-Rolls

Nothing beats Holopchi. I mean, nothing. They are the most amazing comfort food ever. Rice, ground beef, and onions all wrapped up in a cabbage leaf. Cabbage is healthy, right?

Find the recipe on our blog here —–>  Cabbage Rolls

Perogies

My Baba used to stand in her kitchen and make dozens upon dozens of perogies in one day for coworkers, family and friends. Claudia makes a ton of different fillings for perogies. Some of our favourites are potato and cheese, sauerkraut, prune and raisin. Blueberry is also amazing as well.

Find the recipe on our blog here —–> Perogies

Borscht

I actually eat more Borscht in the summer months than I do any other time of the year. Reason? Garden fresh beets make the most amazing Borscht in the world. I am so thankful for my parents huge garden in Saskatchewan where they plant tons of beets for this delicious soup.

Find the recipe on our blog here —–> Borscht

Nalysnyky

Dill, cheese and butter. I don’t think I need to say anything else. Nalysnyky is rich, savoury and dreamy. This was my very first recipe post on this blog! Again, total comfort food.

Find the recipe on our blog here —–> Nalysnyky 

Kutia

The attachment that I have to Kutia is not because I love it. I actually don’t like it at all. It’s because my entire family adore this dish and rub it in my face every Christmas. Guilt trip central. I get such a kick out of it. This dish is very traditional and different. It’s almost like a sweet grain pudding. Tradition is that you eat this first before your other courses on Christmas.

Find the recipe on our blog here —–> Kutia

Pyrizhky

Pyrizhky are little balls of sunshine to me. The dough is so incredibly soft, and the sauerkraut has just the right amount of tang to cut the richness of the dough. I could eat a plateful of these any day of the week. They’re very addicting.

Find the recipe on our blog here —–> Pyrizhky

Enjoy and Kristos Razdayetsya!

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Turkey

If you were following our posts on our Facebook page last night you would already know that we are celebrating Thanksgiving here in Canada this weekend. Our family dinner was actually yesterday and I’m still full from all the delicious food that Claudia made. I mean, look at that turkey above! I’m excited for my lunches over the next few days which will consist of all the delicious leftovers.

Cabbage Rolls

It would not be Thanksgiving in our house without Cabbage Rolls. Claudia decided to make an entire roaster full! When I asked her why she made an entire roaster full when she was only cooking for 6 people, she replied “Well, why not?!”. I love my mother! You can find our delicious Cabbage Roll recipe by clicking here!

Gravy

While Claudia and I were preparing dinner, I learned yet another valuable food lesson. She always uses potato water mixed in with the turkey drippings to make her gravy. It gives it a little added flavour rather than using just regular water. Brilliant, right? It blew my mind anyways.

Pumpkin Pie

We finished off the evening with the Claudia’s delicious Pumpkin Pie, and the standard family debate: whether pumpkin pie should be served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I take ice cream every single time. There is nothing better in my opinion.

Whether you are celebrating this weekend, or in a few weeks, Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Our Most Popular Recipes of 2012

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  • egg nog, cupcakes, buttercream,
  • Pumpkin Caramel Dream Cake 15
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  • Cream Cheese Butter Cookies 4
  • Pyrizhky 31
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  • Danish Apple Bake 21
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  • IMG_2563
  • Fiery Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup 17
  • Pumpkin snickerdoodles19

2012 was a fantastic year. I can’t believe it’s almost over! I wanted to take an opportunity to thank you all again for visiting our blog – whether it was for the first time or your tenth time.

Today, I wanted to recap our top 12 recipes for 2012. I always find it fascinating to see which recipes resonate the most with our readers. In our 3 years of blogging, our most popular recipes always tend to be the Ukrainian dishes. Our all-time most popular recipe is Cabbage Rolls, which was one of my very first posts on the blog. Without further adieu – here is your top 12 of 2012!

Fiery Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup 17

#12 – Fiery Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup - Without a doubt, this is my favourite soup of all-time. It’s creamy, rich and packed with a lot of delicious flavour.

Pumpkin snickerdoodles19

#11 – Pumpkin Snickerdoodles with Vanilla Icing – These were a pretty big hit with my friends. These cookies are soft, warm and sweet. Besides, who doesn’t like hints of cinnamon, ginger and pumpkin…especially in the autumn season.

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#10 – Salted Caramel Chocolates - This creation was the end result of me getting really into using chocolate molds. Not to mention, I love salted caramel. These treats are really easy to make and super delicious. There is nothing better than homemade chocolates in my humble opinion.

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#9 – Wookiee Cookies - My love of Star Wars resulted in my love for these cookies. The recipe is from the Star Wars cookbook that I received for a birthday present. These cookies start out as your basic chocolate chip cookies until you add cinnamon to them. They are delicious, and my fiancé’s favourite cookies!

Danish Apple Bake 21

#8 – Danish Apple Bake – This apple dish is buttery, flaky and full of flavour. I still love my former coworker for this recipe!

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#7 – Rolo Brownie Trifles - This individual trifle recipe is decadent and rich – a perfect guilty pleasure treat. You simply can’t go wrong with Rolo candies, brownie, gooey salted caramel, and chocolate whipped cream!

Pyrizhky 31

#6 – Pyrizkhy (Ukrainian Cabbage Buns) – As I mentioned earlier, Ukrainian recipes tend to be the most popular on my site. I posted this recipe a week ago and it made the Top 12 of 2012! These turned out to be a big hit for our Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner this year.

Cream Cheese Butter Cookies 4

#5 – Chocolate Dipped Cream Cheese Butter Cookies - These cookies are a nice twist on the traditional holiday butter/sugar cookie. The cream cheese makes the cookie a little denser and the chocolate adds a nice sweetness. These were another big hit this year at Christmas time.

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#4 – Cadbury Mini Egg Cookies – These cookies are an all-time favourite amongst my friends. Since you can now purchase Mini Eggs year round, I try to only make these beauties around Easter, to not overdo it of course. I often get requests from my friends to make them during the non-Easter season and I cannot help but oblige. These are truly delicious!

Pumpkin Caramel Dream Cake 15

#3 – Pumpkin Caramel Dream Cake – An adaption to our very popular Skor Cake, this Pumpkin Caramel Dream Cake is rich and full of caramel and pumpkin flavor. Perfect for the autumn season…or any season!

egg nog, cupcakes, buttercream,

#2 – Egg Nog Cupcakes – Perfect for the holiday season, these cupcakes are sweet, dense and moist. I am not a huge egg nog fan, but these cupcakes have the perfect amount of egg nog flavour.

IMG_6209#1 – Imperial (or Empire) Cookies - I was so happy to see that this recipe was #1 in 2012. I love these cookies. They remind me of my days as a Starbucks Barista. They are soft, delicate and delicious. I choose to make them with Claudia’s Raspberry Jam recipe, but you can always use your own favourite.

So there you have it – our 12 most popular recipes of 2012! What were your favourite recipes in 2012 – from either our blog or another? Please comment and let me know!

Cabbage Rolls

You don’t get any more Ukrainian than Cabbage Rolls. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was fed these as my first experience with “real food” as a baby. Not one special dinner has gone by in our family without cabbage rolls being served. There are many variations. But I can tell you now that nobody’s cabbage rolls compare to the ones that Claudia makes. They are simple the best. Not too tomato soupy, not too cabbagey. They are perfect little delights. However, I learned in this blog process that I apparently haven’t inherited the Ukrainian cabbage rolling gene, as I found the process extremely frustrating. My 1/4 Slovakian genes took over my hands and rendered me incapable of “tucking and rolling” the rice and cabbage. But do not fret kids….if you weren’t blessed with the Ukrainian cooking gene like me, it just takes a bit of practise and patience. …and Claudia laughing at you when you curse the rice that fell from your hands and onto your clean floor.

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