Sunday, July 27, 2014

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Ukraine through Food and Craft

With Ukraine in the news so much, it is a perfect time to explore the country through food, books and crafts. It is also a perfect time for lessons with older children about current events and such. Since we do not let Hazel know about current events or watch the news, we looked at tradition, food and crafts. 

Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe and is the largest country that is entirely in Europe. For more information, read the introduction post at Around the World in 12 Dishes. I shared the books we have read and not read about Ukraine. Have you read Jan Brett's The Mitten? I know it is really popular around here and it is the retelling of a Ukrainian folktale.

 We decided to try two different Ukrainian recipes. The first we found in the Ukraine book of the Festivals of the World series.  It is written by Volodymyer Bassis (or Vladimir Bassis--all the sites seem to list both spellings). The recipe is for Strawberry Kysil. Kysil can be made with different berries, but Bassis claims strawberries make the best one.

Strawberry Kysil 
(from Ukraine by Volodymyer Bassis)
2 quarts of fresh strawberries (I am sure you could use frozen)
2 cups cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch (we used tapioca starch since we could not find potato starch)

1) Wash and hull the strawberries. Put in pan with water and bring water to a boil. Boil on high for a minute then turn down to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. I let Hazel use the potato masher while the strawberries cooked to help get the juice out. This makes the next step a bit easier.

2) Push the strawberries through a fine mesh strainer with a wooden spoon. Put juice back in pan.

3) Stir in sugar and bring back to a boil. Boil over high heat for 2 minutes.

4) Reduce heat to medium and stir in starch and dissolve it (Hazel did not do a good job of dissolving our starch so we have chunks in it). Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes stirring until it thickens. 

5) Cool to lukewarm and then put in refrigerator to get cold for a few hours. Enjoy!

Strawberry Kysil is a bit like strawberry soup or eating a liquid form of strawberry jelly. It is delicious but you will not want to much at one time.

Our second recipe came from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine and it is Ukrainian Yabluchnyy Korzh. Hazel likes to call it what it tastes like--apple pie. It is a type of cookie crust with apples inside. It is delicious!

Ukrainian Yabluchnyy Korzh
Adapted from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine
5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 large egg yolks (if I made again I would use whole eggs)
1 cup sour cream

7-8 large apples (we used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Start by making the dough:
1) Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. then add the butter and mix with your hands (Hazel loved this part) to make a coarse flaky mixture. 

2) In a small bowl mix egg yolks and sour cream together. Then add it to the dry ingredients. Work it with your hands into a firm, smooth, not sticky dough. (Ours never really formed a good firm smooth dough.)

3) Divide dough into 2 pieces, making one slightly larger than the other. 

4) Turn oven on to 375 and grease with butter (we used the wrappers) a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Do not use baking spray to grease.

5) With the larger dough, cover bottom and sides of pan. The instructions say to roll it out, but I found ours was just too crumbly to do this. I pressed it into the pan.

6) Time to start filling. Peel and thinly slice the apples (we used our food processor). Mix with sugar and cinnamon.

7) Add apple mixture to bottom crust.

8) Roll out top crust or pat it on top. Try to seal apples in.

9) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. It should be brown in color and the apples should be tender to a knife. Set on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

10) Now you can attempt to remove the pan (I did not attempt due to the crumbly nature). To remove: Run a sharp knife along the sides and then put a wire rack on top and flip it over. Remove pan and put other wire rack on bottom and flip back the correct way.

11) Serve at room temperature. You can dust it with powdered sugar (we didn't bother). Refrigerate leftovers but bring to room temperature before eating.

Since it tastes similar to apple pie (Steve's favorite dessert), we all love it!

We also have been reading Urkainian stories. We found a Cinderella tale, The Golden Slipper, which we shared last week. We also found many versions of a Christmas tale involving spiders. All the crafts I could find had to do with spiders as Christmas ornaments or pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs).
Ukrainskie pisanki
Pysanky Source: By Carl Fleischhauer (Library of Congress employee[1]) 
( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Since we already posted about pysanky, we made a silver spider web and spider Christmas ornament. We found the instructions in Christmas Crafts from Around the World by Judy Ann Sadler. 

In the Christmas legend, the spider on a Christmas tree spins webs of silver for a poor family who has no money for Christmas. Thus why the ornament is done in silver!
Ukraine's Flag
Now it is time for the Around the World in 12 Dishes Blog Hop! Please visit the other posts and feel free to share any Ukrainian crafts, food, etc. posts that you have done.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sharing Saturday 14-30

Sharing Saturday Button

Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week and to all who took the time to visit one each other's amazing posts and comment on them! I know I find all the posts so inspiring!! We did not have a most clicked, so I have several categories for the features this week: Planes, Ice and Water Activities and Some of My Favorites. I found it really interesting that there were three frozen paint/chalk methods this week!! I had to feature them!


1) From Life with Moore Babies: Planes Birthday Party

2) From Mama to 5 Blessings: Clothespin Planes

3) From Life with Moore Babies: DIY Foam Aircraft Carrier

Ice and Water Activities

1) From Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Frozen Inspired Ice Chalk

2) From There's Just One Mommy: Colored Ice Painting

3) From There's Just One Mommy: DIY Water Wall

4) From Mini Monets and Mommies: Frozen Art Activity: Science and Colors for Kids

Some of My Favorites

1) From Some of the Best Things in Life Are Mistakes: Blueberry Picking Activities

2) From Every Star Is Different: An All American Summer Unit: The United States of America

3) From Sunshine and Hurricanes: No Sew Patchwork Teepee DIY

4) From The Train Driver's Wife: Cardboard Post Box Play (so much fun for the little ones)

5) From True Aim Education: Reading Around the World: Japan

  Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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From Your Hostess:
This week I was recovering from our family visit and had a little day trip to Maine to visit friends on vacation. We did manage a few posts however including: a Ukrainian Cinderella, DIY Doll Sandals that can be adjusted to most sizes, Easy Paper Dolls and Clothes and Exploring Watermelon.

Now for This Week's Party  
A Few Simple Guidelines:
1)  Please follow Crafty Moms Share via GFC (or one of the other ways that work for you).  

2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post. 

3) Post the Sharing Saturday button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.

4) I would love it if you would follow me on FacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest 

5) If you do not have a blog, but want to share an idea you can leave it in the comments or e-mail it to me with a picture (if possible).

 Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest.

Fruit Exploration: Watermelon with a Quilt

Watermelon always makes me think of summer time. It is so fun to eat a slice in the hot weather. Hazel loves watermelon just like her namesake! My grandmother use to eat watermelon every day and Hazel would love to as well. Needless to say she was excited to explore one. She pulled out her magnifying glass and checked out the rind.
Then we flipped it over so she could explore the inside. She touched both and recorded it all in her fruit journal.

Then of course we enjoyed some sweet watermelon!!
Citrullus lanatus5SHSU.jpg
"Citrullus lanatus5SHSU" by Shu Suehiro - Own work.

Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Did you know that watermelon originally came from the southern part of Africa? Or that it is a berry? It is a berry with an extra thick rind according to Wikipedia. It is loosely considered a melon. It has a smooth exterior usually green and a juicy interior that is usually pink but can be yellow, orange, or white. It contains 91% water and 6% sugar by weight and is high in vitamin C. The rinds are also edible, but most people do not eat them. Although pickled rinds are popular in several places.  (Source) Next to tomatoes watermelon has a high level of lycopene which is important for cardiovascular and bone health. It also contains citrulline which scientists are discovering  new things about how it helps your health. They have also discovered that all parts of the watermelon, not just the pink flesh, are packed with these nutrients. (Source)

We have been enjoying books about watermelons or at least that mention watermelons. Both Watermelon Wishes by Lisa Moser and Icy Watermelon by Sandra Fria have wonderful Latino appeal. Icy Watermelon is in both English and Spanish on each page. Fruits of India by Jill Hartley adds more multicultural appeal. It is a very simple board book. The Pinkalicious book and Ned's New Home only briefly mention watermelons.

For a craft we decided to make a watermelon doll quilt. I found this pattern in one of the children's quilt books I had out from the library, but forgot to write down which one it was before I returned it. Sorry!! I still need to add the seeds to the slices and layer, quilt and bind it, but for now Hazel is enjoying it as a summer cover for her dolls. I am going to use black buttons as seeds. The instructions said black buttons or draw them on with a permanent marker. I loved this square since it was simple and showed an easy method to do half square triangles. The book gave the measurements to cut in three different sizes for the square. We did the small one since she wanted to do multiple squares. Of course when it came time to sew she wanted to play and not sew, so I pieced it on my machine.

We could not decide which fabric to use for the inside flesh, so we used two. The black and white plaid with cats represents a tablecloth. It is truly a perfect summer quilt. I added the watermelon fabric (which I think Hazel may have picked out at some point) to sash and border the squares. 

For more ideas on watermelons check out: