Category Archive: Traditions

Beach Bunny

Our co-blogging families had a fabulous trip to the beach! Sun, fun, books, games, and for me, knitting. I love this yarn… So a square became a bunny! (And a beautiful memory – I hope G likes it!)

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Valentine’s Day – Perfect Time for ‘Making’

Christmas-time gets busy with knitting projects for the kids and somehow I never seem to get it together to make candles for Feb 2nd but we have some fun picking and making Valentines. Plus, I have to admit that this year’s constant threat of snow here in the mid-Atlantic has made stand-by snow-day crafts a must.

This year, my little one didn’t seem to like my ideas, so we googled and googled and looked at lots of projects. He saw gardenmama‘s pine cone gnomes and wanted an army of them for his classmates. (He made himself a pumpkin for Valentine’s Day.)

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My oldest wanted to do something a little different and these caught his eye from jen at paint cut paste:

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These were great projects because the kids could do so much. My almost 5-yr old could find the pine cones with his brother and sew and stuff the gnome hats and hearts. (We didn’t make the hearts into pins). My almost 9-yr old found the sticks (in my parents kindling stack) and cut out the arrows and made the labels.

Thanks to gardenmama and jen for inspiring our Valentines!

A Little Late: Christmas Eve Mushroom Soup

barszczgrzybowy_przepisAll this snow is making me think of Christmas, and it wouldn’t be Christmas (or home) without this amazing soup. We call it grzybowy barszcz and it’s oh so yummy. These king bolete mushrooms come from the forests of Poland – we call them prawdziwki which stems from the word prawda for truth – we believe they are truly the best mushrooms in the world, that they are called “king” for good reason. You may know them by their Italian name: porcini.

Soak 2 or 3 handfuls of dried porcini/bolete mushrooms for 3-4 hours in hot water.

Sauté chopped onions,chopped celery and the optional, but flavorful, chopped leeks in a soup pot. (You might be wondering ‘how much?’ – well, that’s really up to you. I’d probably add a handful of chopped onion, maybe a little more and one or two celery stalks.)

Add rinsed mushrooms to the pot. and run the reserved liquid through a cloth or cheesecloth or coffee filter and then add that too. I like to chop the mushrooms. Also add salt, pepper and a bay leaf.

Cook until everything is almost soft. Add chopped carrots (maybe 3 carrots), and a chopped parsnip (optional, but one or two adds something to the soup).barszcz_serving

When everything is cooked and soft, add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar (to taste; I like apple cider vinegar). Bring to a boil and turn off heat.

Put sour cream in a bowl and temper with some of the soup. (mix a little of the soup into the sour cream, mix it up, then add more soup and mix, do this a couple more times and add this mixture back to the soup.)

Add a lot of chopped parsley.

Potatoes for the soup: Boil potatoes, when they’re soft, drain, put back on the stove and dry them a bit by mixing them with a spoon or fork for a moment or two, add some salt. Some will fall apart, but it’s ok. Now they’re ready.

Serve on Christmas Eve when you see the first star in the sky by putting a spoonful of potatoes in a bowl and ladling the soup on top.

It might take a try or two to get it just right, but it’s quite worth it! And, though it reminds me of Christmas, it would be pretty wonderful anytime. Smacznego!