Ukrainian Salsa (Аджика)

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Adjica (salsa) is one of my favorite things in the world. I will add it to mashed potatoes, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, soups, and just about anything else. This is one of those recipes that makes a ton of salsa. I can it and have it in hand for whenever I may want it.

This recipe makes about 10-12 mason jars of salsa. I would definitely recommend you half or even quarter it, especially the first time that you make it.

Ingredients
2 kg bell peppers
2-3 kg tomato
1 cup garlic
2 kg green apples
1 cup sugar
4-5 spicy peppers (jalapeños, habanero, chillies)
100 gram salt
150 gram oil
150 gram vinegar
Parsley or cilantro to taste

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1) Grind the bell peppers, tomatoes, apples, spicy peppers, and garlic on a meat grinder or food processor. It should all be the consistency of salsa.

2) Transfer into a large pot and add the oil, sugar, salt, vinegar and parsley.

3) Bring to a light boil. Once the salsa is boiling reduce to low heat and cook for 20 minutes.
*your entire house will smell like jalapeños and habaneros for days.

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4) Once the salsa is cooked ladle it into mason jars, close them and set aside. Wait for the lids to pop up and then leave overnight to cool before moving into storage.

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Harvest (Жатва)

This past Sunday my church had our annual Harvest celebration (Жатва). The Harvest celebration for Ukrainians is very much like Thanksgiving here in the US only it is celebrated by Christians. And like any major church celebration we had a potluck afterwards. If you have never tried Ukrainian food, one thing you need to know is that Ukrainian food is amazingly delicious and, since for centuries Ukraine has been a very poor nation, very creative.

So in true Ukrainian fashion we had food galore!! There were two tables full of salads, meats, potatoes, cabbage rolls, stuffed bell peppers, tushana kapusta (fried cabbage), kielbasa, shuba (herring in a coat), and much, much more! There were also three tables of sweets, yes you read that right THREE! We had every kind of cake and pastry imaginable. It was heavenly!

Some of the salads

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Olivye or Masniy Salat – Meat and Potato Salad

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Deviled Eggs

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My uncle’s famous Cashew Chicken.

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Poppy Seed Rolls

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Cream Puffs, Waffles, Cheesecake, Bars, Cookies

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Wafers, Baklava

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Ptiche Moloko (Bird’s Milk), Medovik Cake (Honey Cake)

The food was amazing but the time spent in fellowship with our church family was even better. It was a lot of hard work to pull this potluck together but the time spent together made it all worth it.

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Just some of the stage decorations. We really do go all out in decorating and preparing for Harvest.

Apple Butterscotch Bars

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Ingredients

2 cups flour

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup chopped pecans

3 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith Apples, the greener the better

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2) Place pecans in ungreased, shallow pan. Bake uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown

3) Grease 13×9 inch pan with shortening, lightly flour. (Can use baking spray instead.)

4) In a large bowl stir together the brown sugar, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Than stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until well incorporated. Finally add in the apple and the toasted pecans. Spread in an even layer in the pan.

5) Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

6) Cool for at least an hour. Cut and serve.

* You want to make sure that the apples are extra sour otherwise they will not taste as good. I actually had a friend mistake them for banana bread because the apples I used were not as sour.

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Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes are the perfect base for a countless fillings and frosting. There are so many combinations that you can make with a vanilla base that it is essential for any baker to have the perfect base cupcake recipe. This is my personal favorite vanilla cupcake.

*Warning: My food is delicious, but I pretty much suck at decorating my cupcakes and cakes! You have been warned!

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Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbs (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Directions

1) Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

2) In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3) In another large bowl beat together the sugar and butter on medium-high speed using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add the egg and the egg white one at a time, beat well, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until no traces of flour remain but do not over beat; about 30 seconds.

4) Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake until the cupcakes are lightly golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

5) Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let them cool completely, about a hour.

6) Frost the cupcakes and enjoy.

*Personal Tip: It is important to follow the directions because missing any steps or going out of order can massively screw your cupcakes up!

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I have yet to find a frosting whether butter or cream cheese based that I love enough to share with anyone. If you have any awesome but not too sweet recipes I’m open for suggestions!

Sushi Night

Who doesn’t love sushi, right? Well until several years ago, I didn’t. I didn’t hate it but I was not really a fan of it. All that changed when a friend initiated “The Sushi Night.” The idea was simple, get together with several friends and make sushi together at home. I joined them for the company and the memories but the sushi turned out incredible and I have been hooked ever since. We have continued the sushi night tradition, although it happens less and less frequently now. With with work, school, church and family commitments it can be hard to find a free evening that works for everyone.

But recently we were able to get together with about 15 friends to have our coveted sushi night. We spent about an hour and a half prepping the ingredients – cutting vegetables, cleaning and cutting fish, cooking the rice, finding everything we need, and making about 3 spontaneous grocery store trips – and another hour and a half to two hours actually making the rolls. After all that hard work we were finally ready to dig in and enjoy the fruits of our labor! And was it ever worth it. As good as our local Japanese restaurants are and as wonderful as their sushi is, nothing beats homemade. The sushi was incredible but the memories made that night are priceless.

Here are just some pictures of some of our rolls.

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The insides!

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They were so delicious!

What are some of your favorite traditions or ways to spend time with friends?

 

Magic Bars

This is one of my go to deserts to make if I have friends or family coming over. It is incredibly easy and quick to throw together when you are on a tight schedule. I hope you enjoy it as much as my friends and family do.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 (14 oz) can of condensed milk

2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray

2) Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Pour condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts. Press down firmly with a fork.

3) Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.

Enjoy!