family recipes

Smell of Fall in the Air

Been a chilly couple of days in New York. Absolutely beautiful sunny days with a chill in the air that makes you think about Autumn. My garden is finally starting to produce red tomatoes. I had more cucumbers than I knew what to do with and made many pints of pickles to get us through the winter. I cannot buy pickles in the store anymore as I am spoiled from eating ones from cucumbers grown in my gardens.

I was getting a little worried that I might not be canning sauce this year. Whenever I think about canning tomatoes I am reminded of my paternal grandmother and great- great grandmother.  They were two ladies who preserved the fruits of their gardens and passed that knowledge down to future generations. I cannot think of fall without thinking of sauce simmering on the stove.

My great great Grandmother Emma Borgwardt May

My great great Grandmother Emma Borgwardt May


Harvest time with my grandmother and a worker picking beans in the 1930’s

Grandma’s Lambie Pie

The  lambie cake was a success!

Lambie Cake Mold

Lambie Cake Mold

I used my grandma’s cake mold and tweaked her recipe only to change the temperature from 370 degrees to 375 degrees. And it worked. My cake came out perfectly.

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

I made a butter cream frosting and sprinkled with coconut using raisins for eyes. My lamb looks a little demented but she came out perfectly.I think I needed to move her eyes farther up on her head.  I am sure I heard a loud round of applause from my ancestors in heaven!

A successful lamb

A successful lamb


Easter Challenge

My grandmother started the tradition of baking a lambie cake for Easter. I love Easter as it is the beginning of spring and always falls around my birthday. It is just an exciting time of renewal in my honest opinion.

My grandma and mother tried unsuccessfully to make a lambie cake for decades in this mold. It turned into a challenge that as the next generation I have got to take up!

Lambie Cake Mold

Lambie Cake Mold

My father told me in the year before he died that it was my job to make the lambie cake work. I am armed with cooking spray and am going to carry on the tradition. Wish me luck this Easter.

Family Lambie Cake recipe from 1950

Family Lambie Cake recipe from 1950

Ukrainian Family Recipe

Part of my heritage is Ukrainian. We love good food and company to share our food. Here are two of my favorite family recipes I would love to share: pierogi and sauerkraut & kielbasa. The smell of sauerkraut and kielbasa simmering reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen at Easter time. 

My great grandparents who were born in the Ukraine.
Charcoal portrait of my great great grandmother who was born in Austria.


Makes 20-24 

Dough                                              Filling                          

1/3/4 cup flour                                ½ cup mashed potato

1 egg                                                 ½ cup cottage cheese

½ cup water                                     ½ small onion, chopped

¼ tsp salt                                          ½ Tbs.. fat

                                                          ½ tsp. salt

                                                          Black pepper

Combine flour, egg, water & salt.  Knead until smooth.

Divide into 2 or 3 balls.  Roll each ball on flouted board & cut into 3” circles


Mix potatoes & cheese.  Saute onion in fat until brown, add to potatoes & cheese

Add salt & pepper and Blend well

Place 1 rounded Tbs. of filling in center of each circle & form dumpling. Seal well

Place dumpling at bottom of kettle filled with oiling water.  Do not crowd.  Continue to boil 4 minutes after they float.

Put in colander, spray with cold water to set.

May prepare ahead to this point and fry to heat up and serve.  I make a lot at one time and freeze by the dozen. There are many fillings you can use such as mushrooms or sauerkraut or even blueberries and apple. Sauerkraut filled are my favorite.

Sauerkraut and Kielbasa
This is a super easy recipe that I love as it reminds me of spring in my  grandma’s kitchen.

Put two 28 ounce cans of sauerkraut in a crockpot, add a 28 ounce can of tomato sauce, and stir in a ring of polish kielbasa cut into pieces. (Optional is adding a little fatty bacon that has been browned and crumbled.)

Simmer on low for 4-6 hours. 

I serve as a side dish to some pierogi fried in butter and onions. I serve with sour cream on the side.


More Unique Family Recipes

My Grandfather usually started dinner for the family. Odd for a husband in the 1950’s but he was a teacher who got home from work before my Grandmother who was a librarian. This is one of his recipes that we have made in my hose on nights that I have no idea what to make but usually have the ingredients in the pantry for a quick and healthy meal.

Robert J. Schwarz

Grandpa’s Macabroni

1 lb. elbows cooked (also can use penne)
1lb ground beef browned
Onion chopped
Green pepper
Can of mushrooms
Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and A1 steak sauce
Season salt
Cook noodles. Brown beef and onion in a large fry pan.  Add chopped green pepper and a can of mushrooms. Drain noodles and mix with the beef. Sprinkle about a ½ tsp of season salt, 1-2 tb Worcestershire, 1-2 tb a1 sauce and a few dashes of soy sauce. Add 1/3 cup ketchup and stir. Add more to evenly disperse the ketchup.

Cover and heat through.