New Babas And Borscht / Beet Soup


A friend of mine is expecting her first grandchild in the next week or so and she is super excited. Her baby is having a baby!

Kinda weird when you think about it. It’s hard enough imagining that your children are all grown up, never mind that they’re having sex to make babies. Probably just as hard as it is for your children to imagine that once upon a time you had sex to make babies too. Ewww!


It’s a strange and wonderful rite of passage for many women. Girl to woman, woman to mom, mom to grandma.  Youth to adulthood, adulthood to maturity.

You don’t feel any older.  A few wrinkles may wink back at you from the mirror in the morning, but in your heart and mind you’re still 25 so how on earth did you skip all those steps in between? It’s one of the great mysteries of the universe. After all, just yesterday you were young enough and brave enough to leave the house without underwear.


So, congratulations to you Lavina! As you cross over that line from mom to grandma, just remember that you are now at a stage where if you wanted to go out without any underwear, no one is going to say anything because you’re old and new babas can get away with anything.

Cheers to all the grandmas, babas, nanas, grannies, gagas, and meemaws. Past, present, and future.



Borscht / Beet Soup (*Vegetarian)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 10 - 12 servings

This was my mom's recipe for borscht. Mom was a pro at making things that would usually be complicated and making them as simple as possible, which is why a lot of the flavor comes from the Mott's Clamato Juice instead of many separate ingredients and spices.
Traditionally, borscht is served at Christmas as one of the 12 meatless dishes on Ukrainian Christmas Eve.
If you use vegetable stock, this recipe can almost claim to be completely vegetarian, except for the small amount of dried clam broth (ingredient #10) found on the Mott's Clamato Juice ingredients list.


  • 3 - 4 medium-sized beets (including stems and leaves)
  • 1 large bottle (1.8 Liters or 7-1/2 cups) Mott's Clamato Juice - Extra Spicy or The Works
  • 1 Liter (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 head green cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh or frozen dill (if using dried dill, use less)


Peel the beets and cut off the stems and leaves. Thoroughly wash the beet stems and leaves and chop them into 1" pieces. Add the stems and leaves to a large soup pot. Use a food processor or a cheese grater to grate the beets and add them to the soup pot.

Add all of the other ingredients and heat the soup on medium high heat until it boils. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the borscht for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Serve borscht with a dollop of sour cream or a swirl of whipping cream and a splash of vinegar.

To Freeze Borscht

Once cooled, pour the desired amount of borscht into freezer bags. Lay the freezer bags on their side and freeze the bags on a flat surface. Or freeze desired amounts in freezable, lidded containers. Thaw to room temperature before heating.

To Can Borscht

Ladle hot/warm borscht into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Wipe jar rims and add lids. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and cool on wire racks. If any of the jars do not "pop" to seal, then store those in the fridge and eat those first.


Original Recipe by My Friend's Bakery 2014

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Yet Another Family Reunion And Potato And Cheddar Cheese Perogies

potato_cheese_perogy_14_mfbEvery year, all of the first cousins on my Mom’s side get together for a cousins family reunion. I think that this year marks our 8th one.

Last year we had a huge family reunion, but usually, it’s only the first cousins and their families.  Together there are 21 first cousins, plus their spouses, plus their children, plus any surviving aunts and uncles. It works out to anywhere from 45 – 60 people on any given year. It’s a lot of fun and it’s nice for the next generation of kids to get to know each other.


So, as a reminder, I had written “Family Reunion” on the calendar and circled the date so that I wouldn’t forget, and so that the rest of my family would know what was going on, because shift work sometimes makes communication difficult in my house.


Then I was walking by the fridge and noticed that my husband wrote “Again???” (underlined and circled, no less) under my notation on the calendar.  Yes, again! Just like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.


Yes, we had another family reunion. And yes, once again, we had perogies. But not one single person at the reunion complained that we were having perogies again????

Potato And Cheddar Cheese Perogies (*Vegetarian)

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: about 10 dozen, depending on how big you make your perogies

Perogies (Pyrohy) are a traditional Ukrainian dumpling and can be made with a large assortment of fillings like sauerkraut, blueberries, cherries, cottage cheese, and the more widely known potato and cheddar cheese.
Every family has their own dough recipe, and every family claims that theirs is the greatest.
This dough recipe is my Mom's, and she used to joke that it took her 70 years to come up with the perfect perogy dough!


    For The Potato And Cheddar Cheese Filling
  • 8 - 10 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded Old (Sharp) cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Cheez Whiz or Velveeta Cheese (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • For The Perogy Dough
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 4-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


For The Potato And Cheddar Cheese Filling

Peel the potatoes and cut each one into small pieces. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring the potatoes to a rapid boil, reduce heat and cook until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes, cover and set aside.

While the potatoes are boiling, saute the onions in butter over medium heat until they are translucent. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and continue to saute until the onions are lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes).

To the drained potatoes, add the onions, shredded cheddar cheese, Cheez Whiz or Velveeta cheese, salt and pepper. Use a potato masher or electric mixer to mix all of the ingredients until they are smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until cooled.

For The Perogy Dough

Add the milk and water to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute or until the liquid is warm but not hot. Add the cubed butter to the warm liquid and stir until it is melted. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the flour until it is completely incorporated. Continue to mix for 1 minute. The dough will be quite sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly (4 or 5 turns) until it forms a ball. The dough will be very soft but the small addition of flour should mean that it is no longer as sticky. Use the mixing bowl, overturned, to cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.

**You will require 2 batches of dough for the amount of filling shown above.**

To Assemble The Perogies

Divide the dough into quarters and work with only one piece at a time, leaving the other pieces covered. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, turning as needed to ensure that the dough does not stick. Roll the dough until it is about 1/8" thick.

Cut circles into the dough using a 2-1/2" round cookie cutter or the mouth of a glass. Ensure that you cut your circles as close together as possible because perogy dough will be tough if you try to re-roll it. Throw away any scrap pieces of dough. (Or you can do what we used to do as kids when we would get Grandma to boil the dough scraps and eat them with butter and salt. Yum!)

Place about 1-1/2 teaspoons of the filling into the center of the circle. I like to use a 1 oz ice cream style scoop to ensure consistency, but a spoon can be just as effective. Gently fold the dough over the filling and use your fingers to pinch the edges closed, careful not to get any of the potato filling in the pinched seam or your perogy will open when boiled.

Place the completed perogies on a flour dusted, linen tea towel. Cover the exposed perogies lightly with another tea towel and continue until all of the filling and dough is used.

To Freeze And/Or Serve

Perogies can be frozen, uncooked, at this point by freezing them in a single layer on lightly floured baking sheets. Once frozen, transfer the perogies to freezer bags in batches of one dozen per bag. The perogies could then be boiled and served as needed.

You can also precook your perogies and serve and/or freeze them as follows.

In a small pot, combine 1 cup of butter and 1 medium diced onion. Cook gently over medium heat for 15 minutes or until the butter has clarified and the onions are translucent. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Drop the perogies, one dozen at a time, into the boiling water. The perogies will cook and float to the surface of the water. Continue to boil for an additional 30 seconds once they have risen to the surface. Use a slotted spoon to remove the perogies from the water and place them in a bowl. Spoon about 2 - 3 tablespoons of onions and butter over the perogies and gently stir until they are coated.

You can serve immediately with additional sauteed onions, sour cream, jam, or garlic cream dill sauce. (Yes, my family eats perogies with jam! Don't knock it until you've tried it. It's really good.)

To freeze the precooked perogies:

Gently toss with the onions and butter as above, then place one dozen of the perogies into a freezer bag, in a single layer if possible, seal and freeze.

To serve the precooked, frozen perogies:

Option 1:

Place the frozen perogies in a covered, oven-proof dish with 1-2 tablespoons of butter and some diced onions and bake them for 30 minutes at 350 F, stirring as needed to ensure that they don't stick to the bottom of the dish.

Option 2 (as shown in pictures): Place the frozen perogies directly into a frying pan with a little butter and pan fry them over medium high heat until golden brown, turning once. Serve with additional sauteed onions, sour cream, jam, or garlic cream dill sauce.


Original Recipe by My Friend's Bakery 2014

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