Behind My Red Door

Behind My Red Door

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Honey Bunz and What in the World is Kugelis?

DH and I had a fun week dog sitting for our son's Bull Mastiff, Brady, a 150 pound lovable, clumsy but gentle giant. He is the love of my hubby's life right now! DH basically moved into Jay's home for the week and he and Brady are just spent the day together. I went over late afternoon and made us dinner and spent some time with my boys for awhile and then came home. Today we picked Jay and Ang up at the airport and so DH and I are now back at home, settling into the rest of his December vacation. We will start the first of our traditional activities on Monday - more about that later.

So now as any Grammy worth her weight in salt, I have to show you our other furry grand baby, better known as Honey Bunz. Honey is Jen's pet bunny. For several years now, Jen had wanted to have a bunny. But with a Dad that traveled for business a lot, and Jen's life very busy with dance after school daily back then, I knew for sure the care of a bunny and the up keep of the cage would fall on my shoulders. And I didn't need one more thing to do when Dad was in another state and I was left to do the shoveling, lawn mowing, taking out the trash, minor household repairs, and the likes, in addition to all the house work, errands, etc in addition to being the Director and running a school. Having a bunny just wasn't going to happen while she lived at home. ( I know - I was a MEAN mother!)
So now that Jen lives in an apartment with her boyfriend Justin, she talked HIM into getting her a bunny!! Please meet Honey Bunz - he is a cutie, I have to admit. I went over there for a little visit the other day and Honey Bunz played shy with me but I did manage to get a few pictures to share.

I think in this next one, he is trying to decide if he can make a run for the other room!
I am so happy for Jen that she finally got her bunny and I got none of the responsibility -
it works for me!
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In several recent posts, I have mentioned that Potato Kugelis as part of my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas Day menu. Even though we all LOVE it, and we all fight for the leftovers on the rare occasion there is any, we only make it 3 times a year, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. We feel it keeps it special. Every once in a long while, we will make it for another very special event but I can count on one hand how often that has happened. I do remember one year when Jay and Jen requested their OWN 8 x 8 pans of it and indeed my mom made them each one for Christmas! They coveted those pans of Kugelis like it was gold!

Kugelis is a baked potato pudding that is a Lithuanian national dish. The main ingredients are potatoes, bacon or salt pork, milk, onions, and eggs. It is usually eaten with apple sauce or sour cream and it much like a giant potato pancake. The bottom, top and sides are crispy and the inside is tender. There are as many variations of the recipe and each region in Lithuania as well as many other Baltic countries, have their own version. Ours comes from a very old Lithuanian cook book. We consider our exact recipe a family secret but you can just google it to come up with one that works. We cook ours in a 9 x 13 casserole dish and unlike some variations that are similar to rice pudding in texture, our version is a solid when you slice it and lift it out of the pan. My mom was the Kugelis maker in our family until she passed the torch to Jay. He now makes it for the those 3 special days.

Here is the one Jay made for Thanksgiving. You can see the bits of salt pork. Oh YUMMO - just looking at this makes me want some!!
Are there an special family dishes on your menu this Christmas?

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We are expecting our first measurable snow of the season tonight into tomorrow. Just an inch or so and with the warm temps coming Wednesday, it surely won't last until Christmas. I do love a white Christmas! Here is what it looked like Behind My Red Door at Christmas LAST year:It was just magical!!
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Monday DH and I start one of our traditions during his December time off as we head out to do some gift shopping. Shopping is not his favorite activity but he doesn't mind chauffeuring me around and I even buy him lunch when we are done. Once we get home, we then start wrapping the gifts together. He picks out a Christmas CD while I gather the wrapping paper, tags, ribbons etc. He gets his pile to wrap, and I get mine. That's when he first finds out what everyone is getting for Christmas. We have done this for many years now, and it just makes for a nice day and the job is more fun and so much easier when it is shared. What are some of your traditions leading up to Christmas?
Until next time - hugs, Linda