October 15, 2014


Feeling grateful, thankful and blessed...
Thanksgiving time arrived with the gift of family togetherness, home cooking, nature wandering, canoeing, hiking, laughter, music, reading, affection... and lots of food. 
Arrowhead wilderness in Muskoka was welcoming, cozy, beautiful and peaceful. The natural world as one of my greatest teachers always helps me cultivate my own voice of wonder, wisdom, humility, and gratitude. Every encounter with the absolute perfect silence, the fine reflection at calm water, the gorgeous leaves and their crunching sound under my boots, the fresh smell of autumn in the air make me thankful for all my senses, my body, my every breath. 
And then came the FOOD - planning it, cooking it, setting the table, serving the meal, eating it and sharing it with people who make you feel good inside and give you a bit of themselves when you are together. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce and potatoes - the essential elements of our Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, the pumpkin pie was expected. But somehow this humble sweet strudel that my husband makes with so much love and care; this simple traditional Bulgarian pastry with phyllo dough and fresh pumpkin filling (called tikvenik) convinced me that this would be a perfect way to make this year's Thanksgiving celebration an extra special one.
As we relished in the softest, flavourful and utterly delicious taste of baked pumpkin, walnut nuts and cinnamon, we gave thanks for all that we are and all that we have.   

Pumpkin Strudel 


1 (1 lb) package phyllo pastry
2 lb (1kg) sugar pie pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
1 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup of water
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar ( for sprinkling)


Bring the phyllo dough out of the refrigerator in advance. Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Remove the skin of the pumpkin, cut it into small pieces and shred.
In a large saucepan, sauté the pumpkin in 1/2 cup oil. Add 1 cup of brown sugar, half cup of water and cook by stirring constantly until water evaporates and pumpkin is tender (approximately 10 min). Add walnuts and cinnamon. Remove from the heat and  set aside to cool.
Heat oven to 350 °F.
Unfold the phyllo pastry. Take one single sheet and drizzle it with 1 tsp oil. Spread about 1/3 cup of the pumpkin filling across the width of the bottom side of the sheet. Roll the sheet loosely into cylinder/cigar-like shape. Place into a greased baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.
If a rectangular baked dish is used, place the rolls parallel to each other. If it is a round baked dish, arrange rolls into a spiral from the edge to the centre.
Bake the strudel until golden, approximately 40 minutes. When ready, remove from oven and cover with clean cloth to soften.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with powder sugar if you wish.

Enjoy and share with someone you love.

I am sharing this post at Home Sweet HomeFeathered Nest Friday


  1. I like the muted colours of your photos - golden, amber, brown. Really pretty. The dessert looks and sounds yummy.

  2. Happy thanksgiving to you! Your photos are so wonderful!

  3. Dear, dear Sylvia,

    You all had your Thanksgiving, and your feast carries on in memory here. That strudel, YESSSSS! Your chocolate lab? Sweet at pumpkin chocolate pie!

    I am wondrously confused at how YOU and a handful of other dear bloggers get photos with such focus...I'm not speaking about literal focus, but the perfect balance of color. You seem to be able to capture a brown tone here....is it that you carefully select objects in your field of vision that are only brown, or is there a trick to giving your photos this MOOD of brown, tan, beige? Another blogger does this beautifully with white. Everything in her photos is white, gray and beige. I've tried putting ONLY objects of white and gray in my photos and I don't get the same mood. You, are an artist.

    Lovely post my friend. Enjoy the rest of the blessings!

  4. Your photos hide a mystical beauty, so rare to see photos like yours...Indescribible!
    Have a nice weekend!

  5. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos and delicious recipe!

  6. lovely thankful post & your pumpkin strudel recipe sounds delicious ~ thank you for sharing the recipe...can't wait to make it.

  7. Oh that looks as lovely as I am sure it is delicious!

  8. You are magical, my dear sea sister...
    Thankful for you. :)
    Thanksgiving at your place sounds cozy, gentle, and full of love.
    Each magnificent photograph tells a beautiful story...and tikvenik? How yummy it looks! My Grandmother fed me tikva quite often, and she made the most delicious apple strudel...but I must combine these together for a new, sweet memory. Thank you for so generously sharing your beauty, dear Sylvia...
    Love to you,
    - Irina

  9. Your recipes are AMAZING but, your photo styling OVER THE MOON!!!!!


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