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Archive for December, 2011

Pierogies

Happy last night of Hanukah (last night)! We celebrated with pirogies. The girls are so good at making them by now that all I have to do is prepare the dough and filling and away they go!

Sofie mixing the dough

A few years ago I found this great recipe on a Pittsburgh, PA website. The dough is fantastic – pliable and delicious, but easy to work with and not too sticky. I modified the recipe a bit…

Pierogies

1-1/2 cups white flour + extra for rolling

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup yogurt

1/4 cup butter, softened

Mix together flours and salt. Beat the egg, then add all at once to flour mixture. Add the sour cream and butter and work (Sofie does this with her bare hands) until the dough loses most of its stickiness, about 5 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes to 2 days.

Roll pirogie dough on floured board until 1/8″ thick. Cut circles. Place small ball of filling on each round. Fold dough over forming a semi-circle. Press edges together with tines of a fork. Wet edges if necessary.

Boil pirogies a few at a times in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top. This can take 5-10 minutes.

Now you have some options. You can rinse, dry and then pan fry them, or serve them as is. We do the latter, and cover them with sautéed onions and more yogurt (or sour cream).

The filling can be a variety of things- We use mashed potatoes with added sautéed onions and parsley or sautéed mushrooms, or a mixture of the two. Sometimes I add shredded cheese to the potatoes. You could also use seasoned ricotta (tvaroh) or even meat, I suppose.

Yummm….just don’t overdo. They are rich and filling, even now, 12 hours later!

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Learning to Knit

I have wanted to learn to knit for a long time and I’m thrilled to say that the time has finally arrived!

Why I never asked my mother to teach me, I do not know. She’s a great knitter. Look at these beautiful stockings she made the girls:

My good friend and neighbor Andrea offered to teach me to knit if I would teach her to quilt. We haven’t had many lessons yet – one to be exact! But hopefully they will start in a day or so when I finally shake this little cold I have.

But I couldn’t wait to get started, so I checked this awesome book our of our school library:

It’s called “Kids Knitting: Prjoects for Kids of All Ages” by Melanie Falick.

We started with finger knitting. So fun and easy that both girls were able to do it immediately, much to their delight.

Then we started with needles (thank goodness my mother-in-law is a knitter and could lend us needles). Also, thanks to former colleague Peggy who left me a box full of left over yarn!

The book explains casting on and knitting very clearly and soon we were doing both. It was a little frustrating for Sofie, but Olivia is doing quite well.

Today she experimented with increasing and decreasing!

I practiced making little squares and then used a finger knit cord (Christmas present from Olivia) to fashion a little bag, modeled by Sofie:

Close ups:

My first knitted project! OK, it’s not that impressive, but I’m definitely hooked now!

Next project – very cute tasseled hat from book:

I’m half way there!

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Baby Booties

I found the cutest pattern and tutorial for making felt baby booties on the Purl bee. I had to go home and make them immediately. Luckily there have been several babies born around here recently!

It’s so easy to do – I can make a pair in about 40 minutes, start to finish, while watching TV and being interrupted by the kids. And they are ever so cute! (For really good photos, see the Purl bee blog!)

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“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

Henry David Thoreau

I’m Karen and I live in the Czech Republic. I have a house and a garden that I share with my husband and our two girls, my mother in law and a cat. I like to make things and grow food.

What I’d really like to do is be an urban homesteader, fulfilling both my Little House on the Prairie and environmental/social change activist fantasies.

What I actually do is work full time, raise kids, dream about gardening and raising chickens (maybe even a small goat?!), read about other people who are actually doing those things, and do the best I can.

I have huge ambitions, an ever-expanding garden, an on-going “discussion” with my husband about getting chickens, and now, this blog.

I’m not like those bloggers I read who grow tons of food, gather eggs, make their own cheese, only give home-made gifts…But I figure they had to start somewhere, too.

I’m starting here, in a country I’ve come to love but still don’t really understand, trying to live ever more lightly on the planet and enjoying my pumpkins.

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