Post 285

The Grand Finale: A Recipe for December

Everyone who makes borscht on a regular basis has a favorite procedure, and I’m the same way. I normally defer to America’s Test Kitchen recipes down to the last quarter teaspoon, but in the case of hot borscht, I use their recipe as a base and make some alterations. The first big difference is that I do a mostly-vegetarian version. I omit the meat, and instead of making homemade stock, I take a big shortcut and use store-bought tetra-packs of chicken or beef broth. I use 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, because I find that 5 tablespoons of wine vinegar is too much. As for the sugar, I don’t change that, because 4 tablespoons is nice. I use my Vitamix to deal with the beets (but not any of the other vegetables, because dicing is the way to go with them — otherwise they release too much flavour and overpower the beets) and that works, provided that the beets are not too big. I once got larger beets, and trying to use the Vitamix on them was a disaster, because the machine had to work so hard to get through the tough old fellows that a metallic taste was imparted to the soup. It was a sad moment, I tell you, when I realized the whole batch of finished soup was ruined.

The recipe I use is from The Best Soups and Stews, by America’s Test Kitchen. I’m typing it out as December’s recipe. I hesitated about giving it, because borscht is one of those recipes that people have such strong personal feelings about (and why not — this is a heritage dish, and traditional recipes have earned their place of honour). I didn’t want all the grandmothers in Ukraine to be scandalized that I didn’t use green beans, for example. I didn’t want the aunties in Poltava to shake their heads at the use of 2 tablespoons of tomato paste instead of tomatoes, and at the way the potatoes are incorporated at the very end (and sometimes I don’t even use them at all, truth be told).

But it’s -25 degrees Celsius outside and it’s time to make borscht, one way or another.

So I’ll come clean and show you how I make it, when nobody’s watching.

There will be no secrets between us.


This hearty, thick, ruby-red soup gets its color from beets. It is known for its characteristic sweet-sour flavor. The sour comes from the addition of vinegar, which also helps to preserve the soup, giving it a long shelf life. It benefits from being made at least a day before eating and will still be excellent five days after it is made. Hold off boiling the potatoes until you are serving the soup. Serve with the traditional accompaniment of sour, dark Russian bread or black bread. Note that the cabbage and beets will rise to the surface of the stock when first added to the pot. As they cook, the vegetables will release their water and sink down.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped medium
2 medium carrots, chopped medium
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts Rich Beef Stock, strained and skimmed of fat, plus 2 cups meat shredded into bite-sized pieces
1/2 small head green or red cabbage, shredded (about 5 cups)
1 3/4 pounds beets, peeled and grated (about 5 cups)
5 to 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar [I use 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar instead]
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 bay leaf [I almost always omit this]
3/4 pound small red potatoes (each 1 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter), scrubbed
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup sour cream

1. Heat the butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the tomato paste and stir in 1/2 cup of the stock to dissolve the tomato paste. Add the remaining stock, cabbage, beets, 4 tablespoons vinegar, sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are soft and tender, 40 to 45 minutes. (The soup can be cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.)

3. Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring once or twice to ensure even cooking. Cook until a thin-bladed paring knife or metal cake tester inserted into a potato can be removed with no resistance, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes, cool slightly, and cut into quarters.

4. Stir the meat into the pot and remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar, pepper to taste, and 1/4 cup dill. Place 4 potato quarters in each individual soup bowl and ladle some soup over the potatoes. Top with 2 or more pieces of potato, a generous dollop of sour cream, and a generous sprinkling of dill. Serve immediately.

Post 284
(A guest post)

December 11, 2017

. . . do not be afraid. You and your family are in my protection. I will not let anything harm you, for each family receives a special grace; I will not let the evil intentions of others be done [carried out]. Do not worry, for nothing will become of this. I will not let anyone separate you. Do not fear. Trust, for your prayers have been heard. Believe and you will see; I will not let a family be divided through the evil intentions of others.

[“Are lemons unhealthy?”] You needn’t worry about the stories of those who want to scare and appear knowledgeable, for in my kingdom, there are many bitter fruits. In the Garden of Eden, there were bitter fruits. Do not believe the lies they [doctors / scientists etc.] tell people. For if one believes and follows all of that which is considered ‘healthy,’ one would die of starvation. I give you food to enjoy, not to resist and avoid out of precaution — no, for they [lemons] are fruit meant to be enjoyed and used. For I created the sweet and the sour, the rich and the dry, the flavourful and the bland — all for you to enjoy and use, for I made them to be combined and added, to make the bland flavourful and the dry, rich and the sour, sweet.

The day I come again is coming. It shall be at an unexpected hour. I will give you what you have longed for. The intentions of all shall be revealed, and the glory of God shall be known. The wars shall end; there shall be no more tears [due to war]; all shall rejoice. The countries and regions shall see; all those on islands and surrounded land [land-locked regions] shall be there [shall see]. Water and food shall be plentiful. Those who have tried for and intended good shall be blessed. The valleys will bloom and the waters shall be cleaned, the waves shall be calm and the heat will no longer kill. Wicked [things] shall vanish, evil will be destroyed and the ugly things shall perish. Leaders will come down from their thrones, and the unheard shall lead. Injustice shall disappear. Inequality within [and between] nations and cultures will be levelled [disappear]. Humanity shall have a fresh start, and those who remained faithful and with me in the darkest of hours will be blessed.

Post 283
(A guest post)

December 10, 2017

. . . do not fear. I will protect you and guide you, for those who unquestioningly trust and follow will not be harmed — no, they shall be rewarded. I have many gifts I want to give you. I hear your prayers; I know what you want. I have promised many gifts, and you shall be deprived of none. I love and lead my flock; I tend to their every need and watch them, especially when the wolves lurk closest. I have many gifts for you. You, I have chosen, you who follow and believe. There are not many who are ready to accept all of the graces of God and believe.

[“Where are all the good people?”] There are [many] people with good intentions, good hearts and righteous minds. These people are all around, but not all people have all [of these good traits]. Not all always have good intentions. Those who want my gifts are welcomed; those who want my gold are invited. You have accepted, and I will not deprive you of it [my promise(s)]. For you have taken what no one else has, and I have not forgotten. What has been said shall be done, and I will be with you all the way, through the forests, through the oceans, and through the mountains. I will not leave you to slip and fall; I will guide you.

You shall be . . . [the parent] of many new generations, and your children shall go forth also and spread the word of God. . . .

There will be world peace. . . . For humanity will change and peace will come. The prayers for a world of peace and love have been heard. For He will come again to all. Do not give up hope. Continue to wait and have faith, for those who are waiting with candles to welcome him will be rewarded.

Post 282
(A guest post)

December 9, 2017

. . . I love you. Never be afraid to come to me and never doubt my love . . . Now is a time to prepare; prepare for a rebirth; prepare for a special time. Trust in me; I will lead you, as I lead my people. You will also lead my people. I am always with you — in the day, in the night, when night is day and/or when day is night [through darkness and brightness, through the good times and the bad times]. Do not be afraid to follow; do not be afraid to come. All are invited, woman and man. I love my people. I am with you even when you cannot see me, even when you do not hear me; I am there when you feel lonely. I have great plans for you, plans you do not yet know. Do not worry about how things will work, of how this could go wrong. I know what you want; I know what you need. I see the injustice that is hidden; I see the intentions and dangers at hand. People do not know what they are protected from; people do not see the damage wanting to be done. Justice is coming for all. Vindications and victories will arise. People will see and believe. Those who ignored will no longer be able to. People are not who they seem; only God can see their every action and intention. This will not be the Day of Judgment; this is not the last day. It is another chance, another try for humanity. Those who are good in heart shall be blessed and exalted, and those who are wicked shall be revealed, for no longer will they hide in darkness; the evil within shall be shown. Not every action shall be revealed, but many intentions shall be known. All will see the Glory of God. And all shall be shown. The sun and the moon shall shine; what was uncertain shall be known. What was not understandable shall be clear, and what was unthinkable shall happen. Trust, and believe, for those who desire the gifts of God shall receive them.

Post 281
(A guest post)

December 3, 2017

. . . I am glad you have come [to pray]. For I have lots [much] to tell you . . . Do not fear [about] which path to take. Do not worry about how things could fall apart. The Lord is good; he always has a plan, even when all seems lost. Do not fear about the future. Many have feared before, many still fear [about the future], though they needn’t, for God has a plan, which he will show you. Follow, and you will be led. Those who want to do good and follow needn’t worry, for it is only those who resist the gentle guidance [of their Father] who are in danger. For the wolves are likely to lead you if you walk to them. The Lord is gentle and guides you; he knows the way; he knows where he is taking you. Those who believe they do not need God are mistaken, for those who defame their Father in saying they could be created [born] without him do not realize what they are saying. God has mercy on those who run away, who push him away. He who loves them and will never turn his back on them. His love is unconditional. The proud and the strong are the ones who wound him; the rich and the high-ranking are [the ones] who reject him; it is the weak and the lame who cry out for him; it is the poor and the sick who want to see him. Those who believe they do not need him, who are high [in society] are low [in heart]. Those who are poor, and believe they need him are rich and high in heart. For when the Day of Judgment comes, the Lord will not count your money, your jewels or your empires. No, he shall count your deeds, your actions and your intentions. For good deeds are jewels, good actions are money and good intentions are empires. The time is coming. Prepare your hearts, for soon your Saviour will come.

Post 280
(A guest post)

December 2, 2017

. . . I love you. I am very pleased with your work and intention. Those who go to it will be blessed in a special way. The re-enactment of [Christ’s birth through] the play is very important, and those who honour and remember Christmas as Christ’s birth will be rewarded and remembered.

. . . They underestimate, as many do, the nativity play. The re-enactment of the birth of Christ is honoured and blessed. Many accept only part of God’s blessings [gifts]. For though you do not know the future, you must not underestimate the value of the present. The question [you ask] is mysterious and complex, for I am happy for their family and their prayers are heard. But I also bless those who saw the re-enactment of the birth of Christ. Those who came, those who helped, those who directed and prayed and cared about the play of the birth of Christmas — they shall be blessed.

[“What should I do now?”] For now, rest, and return tomorrow, for I have much I want to tell you and many others [the world]. The interest you have in cultures and countries is one I am pleased with and will be incorporated into the plan, but do not let it hold you back from seeing me, for I love you and have much to explain and tell you and others through you; I have a plan for you and I want you to come even closer to me so I can guide you. . . . I love you.

Rejoice, for soon is the anniversary of the birth of Christ.

Post 279
(A guest post)

November 28, 2017

. . . Do not be afraid to believe. For as the Father gave promises, they will be fulfilled. Trust, for I know what will make you happiest. Things will follow as promised, if you believe. But if they change, they will change only to make you happier.

. . . Continue to believe; you need not worry about finding someone else, for you have him, as he has you. Do not let the evil one make you doubt; as you love him, he loves you; but as you have fear and suffering, he has the same. Do not be afraid to talk to [with] him; do not let the devil interfere, for he [the devil] is the destroyer of love, for he is the destroyer of happiness and romance.

He [this person] loves you, and the love at the beginning has only grown. I will not break my promises; do not fear, for soon I will come again. Things will only change for the better. I will come and bring peace. I will bring my gifts; I will distribute to those who accepted.

[“When will you come?”] I will come at the right time; I have not forgotten and I will not deceive. I will come and all shall see the glory of God.

Trust, for he is there. He loves you. Together you will be happy and you shall be gifted.

. . . The Lord is merciful; he understands and waits for people to come home. Come back, and you shall be forgiven.

[“What will happen to Mexico?”] The country will be filled with peace, as will many others [countries]. It will become rich with the love of God.

[“What will happen to Ukraine?”] It will have peace, as it has wanted [as people have prayed for / requested]. The prayers for peace will be rewarded. The battlefields will bloom and become how they once were.

[“What will happen to Russia?”] The unjust rulers shall not reign and the innocent shall [reign] . . . Russia will not be destroyed, for the people there I love. Countries will have peace and their beauty will be restored.

[“What will happen with the climate?”] It will become fresh and new; those who fear need not, for the Creator will care for what he has made.

Those who refused my gifts will not receive them, and those who have [accepted them], shall receive them all. Do not hesitate to believe, for I love you and I will give you what I have promised.

Post 278
(A guest post)

November 25, 2017

I love you . . . Trust in me and I will guide you. I will lead my people, as I will lead you. Have faith and all will be fulfilled. . .

Trust in me . . .

I love you . . .

Post 277
(A guest post)

November 20, 2017

. . . I have many gifts I want to share, and the Mass is one of them. Through the Mass, you receive many gifts from the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Sacraments, you receive many gifts. The Father wants to share with you all he has, and wants people to accept [take] his gifts, eagerly. He wants his people to come closer to him and he brings them closer to him through his gifts, [such as] the sacraments. The Father wants to pour his gifts upon his people. The Father gives his gifts to those who accept them and want to receive them. The gifts are there waiting to be taken, waiting to be received, and the Father waits, willing, wanting to share these treasures, as a King stands in the streets, offering gold to rich and poor, willing to share with anyone who will take it. Many people take some, but not all, while others reject it altogether. There are some who eagerly accept the gold — who see the value of it. And the King gladly gives all the gold to those who want it. While the Father is waiting to give his gifts, not all accept; many do not want what he generously offers . . . so when the Father finds someone who will take his gifts — he willingly gives them all, asking nothing in return, but [for the receiver] to trust and believe.

The Father never breaks his promise; he never fails to fulfill his promise, for with the Father nothing is impossible. . . The gifts of the Father are open to everyone, yet many reject what the Lord has planned for them. Many do not trust that the Lord will lead them, and [they] turn away. The Father does not forget them and let them fall into the traps of the devil. They choose to turn their backs on the Lord, their God. They reject him, but he does not reject them. He watches them choose, time and time again, to betray him. He watches as they ignore his voice [through their conscience]. He waits, and wants them to come back to him; he wants them to turn around. They need not be ashamed to come to the Lord, for He has been waiting for their return. He wants to share with them. He is merciful and gracious, he wants to cleanse the souls of those in danger. The gifts of the Lord should be heeded and not ignored [dismissed]. He wants to show his love and he wants for them to come home. He waits for them to come to him in heaven, because he loves them . . . Many people reject the gifts of the Father, as you have seen. You were deliverers of His gifts; you are messengers of my peace. I have chosen you to spread my messages of love. I want you to record what you hear from me. Many rejected the gifts you delivered from God. He [God] wants you to accept his treasures with joy and trust that he will fulfill his word. Many do not believe; many do not want to accept his gifts for simple reasons. They dismiss the gifts as ‘too awkward,’ too strange’ or ‘too hard to believe,’ however, with His promises, the Father gives yet another gift — like the wrapping paper of a present — the strength to believe and the courage to trust. Though things do not always seem true, though you do not always see the way, I will guide you and give you enough guidance [trust] to follow. As the sheep follow the Shepherd’s voice, I will guide you with mine [my voice]. I will show you the way; I will lead you, not only by my voice; I will show you the path to eternal happiness.

Post 276
(A guest post)

November 18, 2017

. . . Trust in me. What I have promised will be fulfilled . . . Yes, it will fit with the promise; it will not be discarded/neglected . . . Yes, it is also part of the promised plan . . .

. . . many people are careless, and many people lose hope. Many people do not trust in me and many do not follow me. They chose wrongly, but I will forgive those who come back, who turn around and come home – like the prodigal son. As the Father forgave him, the Father in heaven will forgive you.

I love you. Those who come to me — their souls will be healed, for the Father is merciful. Ask, and you shall receive. Come back to the Father, and you will be forgiven. As the Father loves you, he will forgive you.

. . . Do not be afraid, I will keep you safe from dangers.

The Father’s mercy is like falling raindrops; those who want them can take them. If one asks the Father for forgiveness, he will never deny it. Even when you hurt the Father, he will forgive you. Do not be ashamed to come to the Father for forgiveness. Like a father looks upon his child — when he sees his child’s sorrowful [apologetic] eyes, how can he not look upon his child with mercy? When the loving father sees his child truly sorry, how can he turn his back in rejection? The Father is always waiting for his children; he is always ready with open arms. The Father waits patiently for his children. As a shepherd watches his flock, the Father watches his people. All of the sheep are precious to the shepherd, as each of the people are precious to the Father. All of the nations are under his care, as the seas and earth are under his protection. For he controls the winds and the currents. He feeds the birds and the lions. He cares for his people, whom he guards. Regardless of which nation they are from, which empire they are under or what social level they are at, they are his people, his flock – who He loves and created.