Apr 28, 2011


An Easter celebration that stands out in my memory did not take place on Easter Sunday but rather Good Friday. It was April 1963. Our second daughter, Evelyn was born on April 8 of that year. We went to my Mom and Dad’s to commemorate Good Friday. All my siblings, their spouses and children were there. We were so proud to show off our new baby girl! It was beautiful outside, everyone was in shirtsleeves and the kids had a great time looking for their Easter goodies hidden around the farmyard. Life was good - we had our third child and were very happy for our little family.

A traditional food for us on Good Friday and Easter was a chilled dried fruit compote which is delicious with potato salad. The pluma moos recipe follows.

PLUMA MOOS (dried fruit compote)
4 quarts water
4 cups dried fruit (raisins, apples, prunes, apricots and peaches)
1 small pkg. cherry jello
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch mixed with cold water

Cook until fruit is tender. Add sugar and cornstarch mix and cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add the cherry jello. Cool, then add canned cherries. I also add canned peaches before serving (optional).

When we were kids we would go to my Grandma and Grandpa Koop and they would have Kliesse (homemade noodles) to put into the Pluma Moos. It was not my favourite but some liked it a lot.

1 cup water
1 egg
pinch of salt
Add flour to make firm dough.

Roll out fairly thin. Let rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle flour on rolled dough, cut 1 inch strips. Pile strips 4 layers high. Cut into noodle size. Boil and cool. Use in Pluma Moos if you like.



Apr 26, 2011


Easter in my childhood, in my parenting and even now as a Grandmother is one of the greatest celebrations of my life. The beauty of the season is part of its delight; snow melting, sun shining with warmth, blue sky with fluffy clouds, call of birds returned and a renewed earth waiting to produce new life.

In the church community it was the celebration of new life given us by the death and resurrection of our Lord. Singing the Easter morning songs of Alleluia were some of the best rejoices of that day. In German, we sang Rollt ab den Stein, Jesus Lebt. At Rosthern Junior College, a Mennonite residential high school, we sang In Joseph’s Lovely Garden. It was so liberating and such spiritual glory.

Around the Easter family table, in the food preparation and the jolly Easter hunt, “eggs” were in great demand. My Grandmother talked of needing 100 dozen eggs -- it could have been true because almost every food that was prepared needed eggs and also coloured eggs were hidden for every child; sometimes as many as their age.

The recipe I want to share is one more of the life-giving, cholesterol filled treats.


Sauce: 1 cup sour cream
1 cup sweet cream
1 cup butter or margarine
8 egg yolks
3 1/2 cups sugar

Bring this to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly as it scorches easily. Remove from heat, cover and let cool.

Then using 3 pounds of dry curd cottage cheese and the cool sauce the spread is made.
1. Using a blender, put in 3/4 cup of sauce and 1 cup of cottage cheese. Blend but do not puree. It must mix but retain some texture of the cottage cheese. Pour into a bowl. Repeat until sauce and cottage cheese are used and you have 2 bowls of blended mixture

In one bowl add 1 tsp of vanilla, and mix. In other bowl add 1 tsp grated orange peel and 1/3 cup chopped dates. Mix.

2. Get 2 j-cloths and place into a colander that is placed into a large bowl that will collect extra liquid. Into each j-cloth pour one kind of mixture. Cover and secure in cloth. Place a plate over top and set a heavy item on top to press out the liquid. Leave 2 - 3 days.

3. Just before Easter, take solid-like mixture out of cloth and put into container ready to serve and spread on the Easter Bread Paska. Yummy, healthy and special!


Apr 23, 2011


Paska was introduced to us by our Mother who immigrated from Russia in 1926 with my Grandmother and 2 Aunts.

Mom remembered the Easter bread she had learned to love while living in Russia and introduced this tradition to our family. My Father did not know of paska, as his Mother baked “kringle”, an 8-figured iced roll.

Paska was usually baked in large tins from juice or other things, resulting in the shape of large mushrooms. Often we looked for tins of different sizes so we could make more unique shapes. Some paska were also made into loaves.

The paska were covered with a soft white icing, usually almond flavoured, and then sprinkled with small candy of all colours, called sprinkles. Because the icing was so “yummy”, we tried to cover the entire paska with it, which made it rather difficult to handle and slice. Eventually, Mother decided to shape the paska into buns, therefore covering them entirely with this icing. This was definitely easier.

We remember the smell of paska baking, the lemon and almond aromas very well. Several years ago when we moved to a different home, we did not have an oven for awhile and it was close to Easter. Our son-in-law invited me to their home to bake the paska. He had not grown up knowing about paska, but had become very fond of it.

All eyes of our 7 grandchildren shine when they see the decorated buns at Easter time. Yes, it is “yummy” paska, and the following recipe is the one my Mother used. Most paska are shaped as buns at our home; however I use some tins and line them with parchment paper. This way the paska come out of the tins very well.

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cream, heated
1/2 cup milk, heated
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt 2 rounded tbsp fast-rising yeast
1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp lemon extract grated rind of 1 lemon
10 - 11 cups flour

Beat eggs and add sugar. Heat milk and the cream, add butter. Add all 3 items to egg mixture.
Add warm water, salt, vanilla, almond and lemon flavourings, lemon rind and mix well. Mix yeast with a cup of flour and gradually add enough flour to knead into a soft dough. Let dough rise until about double in size (it rises well in a slightly warm oven). Knead down and let rise again. Make into buns or put into well-greased, or lined tins. Bake at 325, until the buns are brown, about 20 minutes -- tins will need about 45 minutes. Ice with a regular icing with added almond flavouring and decorate with sprinkles. Enjoy!


Apr 22, 2011

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

This morning I attended our church's Good Friday Communion Service. It was a very moving service and one of the songs we sang was particularly poignant for me. I have sung it before but today it seemed to be the perfect song to sing. I have copied the words below and pray that by sharing it with you, you will receive a blessing this Easter weekend.

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure,

That he should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss; the Father turns His face away,

As wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulder;

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished;

His dying breath has brought me life—I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom;

But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer,

But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.

Music and Lyrics by Stuart Townend. Copyright 1995, Kingsway's Thankyou Music (PRS). Admin. EMI Christian Music Publishing. CCLI License #923708

Apr 13, 2011


Women of MCEC Spring Enrichment Day
  • Maple View Mennonite Church, Wellesley, ON
  • Saturday, April 16, 2011, 9:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Speaker: Susan Allison-Jones
SK Women in Mission Enrichment Day
  • Tiefengrund Mennonite Church, Laird, SK
  • Saturday, April 30, 2011, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Personal stories by Mryna Sawatsky, Mary Krause, Tena Siemens
MCBC Women’s Ministry Inspirational Day
  • Sherbrooke Mennonite Church, Vancouver, BC
  • Saturday, April 30, 2011, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Speakers: Ingrid Schultz, Dr. Helen Eng, Katrina Goertzen

Apr 7, 2011

Introducing MW Canada's NEW Communications Committee: On January 27 four women met with President, Erna Neufeldt, via a conference call to talk about how this new committe would work. Our mandate is to help MW Canada by communicating information to you via a redesigned newsletter, this blog and our website.
Our hope is to provide a place where we, as Mennonite women from across Canada, can talk about what we believe, how we are living what we believe and what values we aspire to. We want this to be a place where we nurture and encourage each other through the telling of stories and sharing of information. We welcome submissions and encourage you to send us your stories and comments.

The first issue of our newsletter "Connections" is now available at our web site and is is being sent out to churches via MC Canada's Equipping Package. It will also be available at your area Enrichment/Inspirational Day.
Members of the committee are: Waltrude Gortzen - Waltrude@shaw.ca Naomi Unger - dnunger@sasktel.net Barbara Draper - rbdraper@golden.net Liz Koop - koopfarms@becon.org