Wednesday, March 01, 2017

March 1

Those Groundhogs on Feb 2 must have been really asleep in the holes because we've barely had any winter.  A couple Fridays ago it was over 75 degrees and sunny.  A lovely winter.

I haven't written much and I actually do not know why.  But I thought I'd at least add something today to catch me I don't want my 2017 Blog2Print to be 5 pages long.

Donald Trump won the election for US President.  It was the hardest thing to decide who to vote for...actually didn't want to vote for either but I could not vote for Hillary Clinton.  Period.  I couldn't not vote for someone so Donald got my vote.  How bad could it get?  Worse than Hillary?  I still don't think so even though he needs to quit the texting and calm down.  But I'm OK to give him time.  Last night he spoke to Congress and the Democrats were pathetic.  Someone put glue on their butts cuz they basically never stood for anything.  But then again, there were those women wearing white, who must have thought they were pure nuns (and aren't).  Maybe because they refused to rise, their Democrat compatriots refused to stand too. Who knows.  I'm just willing to give him time.

And all these nimrods who are protesting and rioting?  Really?  that's all you can do?  Why don't you run for an office and see if you can do better.

I turned 68 last month.  Nothing too exciting.  Patsy turns 88 at the end of this month and most times I think she's fading fast but she's still not ready to come live with us.  That I do understand. She wants to be on the east side where she's lived her whole life and still has friends to check in on her.  Actually, she truly just wants to die there.  I get it.  I hope the Lord does, too.  But there are always lessons to be learned from every experience.  I hope Robert and I are ready to learn some with her.

I've got to decide on Christmas gifts for our grown children and the grands.  Man! Having 20 grands takes a lot of thought and preparation...hence the early start.

My eyes are getting cloudier and blurrier with the onset of cataracts...nowhere near ready for removal but it makes playing the piano very difficult.  It's a good thing Dawn gave me a ukulele for Christmas...except for the fact my voice is another story, it's easier to play.  At least I have fun. I've ordered a tin whistle from Amazon which is due to arrive today and figure maybe that's something else I can learn. Who knows how long I have left to learn things.

Always in a rush! it seems these day.

I talked with my cousin Kathy Swintek last week or so.  Robert had asked me if I had any Polish Pioneer stories and I thought about the one Kathy had mentioned so I called her to get the details.  My grandmother, Natalie Olecki Czekala Swintek Bryztwa, was married to her 2nd husband (Kathy's grandfather) at Park Drop Forge in Cleveland (actually my father was employed there as well) and basically died in an industrial accident while at work. For the company was paying my grandmother a stipend. Each month she'd go there and pick up a small check.  One day she noticed a house for sale on Sowinski Avenue, with apartments included inside. She goes back to Park Drop Forge and says, "If you will help me with the down payment for this house, I will be able to take care of myself and my family and will never return here for more money."  And with that promise, this woman with only a 6th grade education bought the house and rented out the apartments, keeping herself and her younger children with a little more salary from a clerk job at a dry goods store in Cleveland.  Just shows what good work, a work ethic, and determination can accomplish.  I have stayed at the very home as a child on a couple weekends.  But not the house is gone and is grassed over.

Kathy got me hooked up with her sister Lisa Marshall on Facebook.  The week or so before I had found another cousin, Karen Uridell, on Facebook and so it's been a little reunion of sorts.  Karen posted a picture of Pacski with a recipe for Fat Thursday (Polish version of Fat Tuesday, I guess).  and I made was incredible. BEST donut recipe ever:

Traditional Polish paczki – yeasted doughnuts filled with fruit preserves and rolled in sugar, popular on Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday.  Here are MINE...had help from Robert:

  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees F
  • 4½ teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • ¾ cup + 1 pinch granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Peanut oil, canola oil or lard, for frying
  • Fruit preserves, for filling
  • Powdered and granulated sugars, for coating

  1. Pour warm milk into bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in the yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it has become bubbly.
  2. Add 2 cups of flour to the mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth batter forms. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot for 30 minutes. The mixture should have risen and be very bubbly.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolks until pale yellow and frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and salt, and whisk until combined and smooth.
  4. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, add the egg mixture to the dough and mix on medium-low speed until mostly combined. Add the melted butter and mix to combine. Gradually add 3 more cups of flour to the mixture and continue to knead until a very soft dough comes together. (It will not clean the sides of the bowl or form a ball; it will be rather slack and a bit sticky.) If necessary, add up to another 1 cup of flour, a spoonful at a time, until the dough forms.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm spot until it has doubled in size.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and turn out onto a floured work surface. With your fingers, push down the dough into an even layer. Sprinkle flour on the dough and roll it out to ½-inch thickness. If the dough doesn’t hold its shape and springs back, cover with a damp towel and let rest for a few minutes and try again.
  7. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds of dough. Transfer the dough rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets. Gather scraps of dough and again roll out and cut until you have used up all of the dough. Cover the baking sheets loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, heat at least 1½ inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or deep skillet (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet) over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Carefully lower about six paczki into the oil at a time (be sure not to over-crowd the pan) and fry until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully turn them over and continue to fry until the other side is golden brown. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to remove them to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Allow the oil to come back to temperature, then repeat until all of the paczki have been fried.
  9. Allow the paczki to cool until you are able to handle them easily. Using a filling tip, pipe fruit preserves into the sides of the paczki, then roll in sugar. The paczki are best the same day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Since then I've seen picture and recipe for Chrusciki.  My grandmother Zielinski as well as my mom always made these.  So does Connie Greene and they are wonderful.  I really do need to hone the skill

    1. Beat eggs until thick.
    2. Add salt slowly while stirring.
    3. Add sugar and vanilla, beat well.
    4. Add cream and flour, alternating until blended. You may need more than the flour listed above depending on how humid it is that day.
    5. Turn onto a floured board.
    6. Cover with a cloth for 10 minutes.
    7. Knead until dough blisters.
    8. Roll very thin.
    9. Cut into 1 inch by 4 inch rectangles.
    10. Cut a gash in the middle of the rectangle and pull one end through so it looks like a twist.
    11. Fry in 375 degree oil until golden brown.
    12. Drain on a rack for 3 minutes then roll into powdered sugar.

    We also had a water leak between our home and the front street.  Luckily I had recently signed up for insurance (something Robert usually doesn't want to do) and so that totally covered the all day repair.

    and just cuz he's the most handsome and kindest, funnest guy are a couple picture of Robert.

    Rugby Feb 22 when we took Patsy to see her doctor and that always is followed by lunch, this day at Muldoons.

    And then here he is spying on all the fun birdies who are so happy he provides daily food for them.  This is a spyglass Cara and Jacob sent him

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