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This report has been brought to you from a special place where we had no internet, only 2 and a half TV channels, intermediate phone service, and issues with water pressure… Yet, the 3 weeks we spent there are beating all the awesomeness charts!  In June I gulped a can of courage pills, loaded my 4 and 2 year-olds on an airplane, waved bye bye to the husband, and took the kids on a 30-something hour trip to my homeland!

So, here are some shots and recipes from our visit to Russia, where my children were running in my grandmother’s garden, in the house where my mother was born, where I spent so many happy days, and where you don’t need special photo props to give recipes a hint of old country.

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Plum Pie Filling

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

I used the flaky dough from the previous post and filled it up with fresh plums to make this delicious pie. We served it cold with ice cream and I barely had a minute to take a few shots before it disappeared!

02:00
00:30
01:30

Low cal Calories 47kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

Low chol Cholesterol 12mg

Low sodium Sodium 41mg

Low carbs Total Carbohydrate 10g

Serving size 81g Calories from fat 5kcal Fiber 1g Protein 1g Sugar 7g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • Filling
  • 2 ½ pounds plums, washed, pitted and quartered
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough as directed in the Flaky Pie Dough recipe up to step 5. Roll the refrigerated disks on a floured service one at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Fill the pie dish with the first disk and refrigerate (without cutting the edges). Roll the second disk, place it on a floured baking pan, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Make the filling: wash, pit, and quarter the plums. Mix them up with the remaining ingredients. Fill the pie with the plums and refrigerate while working with the second disk.
  3. Cut the disk into at least 15 ½-inch-wide strips using a fluted pastry cutter or a sharp knife.
  4. Lay 8 strips across pie. Lay lattice pattern on top of the pie. Press together the edges of the pie with a fork and trip the crusts to a 1-inch overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190° C).
  6. Make egg wash: beat up the egg with water.
  7. Brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake pie on middle rack, with a foil-lined baking sheet on bottom rack to catch juices for about 1 ½ hours. The mixture inside should be bubbling in center when the pie is done. Loosely tent with foil after 1 hour if the edges start browning too soon. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool for 2 hours before serving.

Tips

  • Keep the dough refrigerated between the recipe steps to get the flakiest crust

 

 

Russia-10

My son met my babushka, godmother, and two aunts. All these ladies were introduced to him as babas. One evening I asked him, “Who do you love?”

“Mommy, daddy, Pea, baba… [silence] … baba …. Baba…. Baba… baba…. Baba…. “

 

 

 

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When I was a kid each serving of buckwheat was paired with a motivational speech from my parents: “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to be 100 years old!” What they were probably thinking was “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to write ‘War and Peace’!”

Well, I don’t know about 100 years old or even 82 (which is more accurate); but their aspirations came true! Look at me! I’m a blogger who writes in simple English with a heavy Russian accent about once a month, and 200 people liked me on Facebook! Tolstoy in the making!Buckwheat_Breakfast_WM-6

So, parents, tell your children, that there is this Russian mom, who ate buckwheat.. Wait, actually, I’d stick with the Tolstoy story, because this grain is really good for them, and “War and Peace” is one of the best books ever written!

Russian Friday – Buckwheat Breakfast

From While Chasing Kids | Breakfast and Brunch | Russian

This is an excellent make-ahead breakfast. Start it in a rice maker before you go to bed, or refrigerate freshly cooked buckwheat in an air-tight container. All you need to do is spoon some in a bowl and pour milk over it in the morning.

00:27
00:02
00:25

Low cal Calories 97kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 197mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 20g

Serving size 108g Calories from fat 9kcal Fiber 3g Protein 4g Sugar 0g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Pick and rinse buckwheat. Place all ingredients in a rice maker and cook on a white rice setting.

Tips

  • Serve with cold or warm milk for breakfast

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The stuff my husband brings from farmers markets nowadays makes me want to shake the winter hibernation off with some fresh healthy recipes.  I know, right? What’s happening to me?!  Well, I guess all the things green and juicy and flavorful, and not kale are quite inspiring. Plus they are reminding that there is a slight (very slight, but…) chance of sunny days on the horizon, and low possibly (but still a possibility!!!) of a t-shirt-kind of day, and that perhaps we should get into a t-shirt appropriate shape!

Here is something healthy and delicious to celebrate the spring!

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Vegan Cream Of Asparagus

From While Chasing Kids | Soups | American

This soup is so creamy and smooth you would never guess it’s vegan!
Serves: 6

00:45
00:10
00:35

cal Calories 245kcal

Low fat Total Fat 8g

Low sat-fat Saturated Fat 1g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

High sodium Sodium 1030mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 39g

Serving size 419g Calories from fat 72kcal Fiber 8g Protein 9g Sugar 14g
6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 bunches fresh asparagus, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 steam fresh rosemary
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven and sauté cumin seeds for about 3 minutes till fragrant. Add garlic and onion, sauté, until onion is golden yellow. Add asparagus and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower, cilantro, chopped rosemary leaves, and vegetable broth. Bring to boil and cook on medium low heat for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Pure soup in a blender. Pour the pure back into the Dutch oven and add lemon juice, salt and pepper, bring to boil and take off the heat.
  4. Serve hot; garnish with a few drops of vinegar and pine nuts.

Tips

  • Add cumin seeds for a slightly nutty flavor.

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I bake about 4-5 loafs of bread every week. You are probably thinking, “How does she still fit in those jeans?”  Well, she doesn’t!

The truth of the matter is – my family barely finishes one loaf.  The rest goes to our friends and neighbors. I love offering gifts from my kitchen.

Smoky_Ketchup_WM-4

Today’s gift is a collaboration project with the awesomest neighbor and his lovely wife.  They own a smoker, which is responsible for the exceptional flavor of our ketchup.

 

/The recipe was adopted from one of my absolute favorites, “Gifts Cooks Love” by Diane Morgan/

Smoky Ketchup

From While Chasing Kids | Condiments and Sauces | American

Say goodbye to Heinz! This homemade ketchup is a parade of flavors and is a great present for any kitchen: carnivore or vegetarian.
It could be stored in a fridge for up to 1 month.
Yields: 3 8-oz bottles

01:10
00:10
01:00

Low cal Calories 42kcal

fat Free Total Fat 0g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 419mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 11g

Serving size 64g Calories from fat 0kcal Fiber 1g Protein 0g Sugar 9g
16 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion, smoked
  • 2 x 14.5- oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbs capers, drained
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange, strained
  • Juice of 1/2 grapefruit, strained
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, strained
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground paprika

Directions

  1. Process tomatoes in a blender on high speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour processed tomatoes into a dutch oven.
  2. Process onion, garlic and capers in a blender until smooth for about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, and process to incorporate for about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients, and process one more time for about 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the onion blend over the tomatoes and mix with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to boil on medium heat. Lower, the heat, and let steam for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until it reaches ketchup consistency; stirring occasionally.
  4. In the meantime, sterilize the bottles or let them go through a full dishwasher cycle.
  5. Using a funnel, ladle the ketchup into the bottles, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rims and secure the lids. Label, and refrigerate.

Tips

  • Could be refrigerated for up to 2 months.

For free canning labels and gift notes go here.

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We, Russians, like to take our time with everything (I can see my husband nodding here). This year it includes Easter celebrations.  Russian Orthodox Easter is on the 5th of May. Naturally, I’m taking my time to publish this traditional recipe. Last year I was a bit unprepared, and paskha didn’t look anything like it supposed to; but I’m well equipped now.  If you like cheesecake kind of substances, here is a delicious no-bake dessert!

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Vanilla Paskha

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | Russian

Another traditional Russian Easter dish, a symbol of joy and blissful eternity.

12:35
00:05
12:30

cal Calories 138kcal

fat Total Fat 7g

sat fat Saturated Fat 4g

chol Cholesterol 21mg

sodium Sodium 242mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 13g

Serving size 43g Calories from fat 63kcal Fiber 0g Protein 6g Sugar 11g
20 servings

Ingredients

  • 300 g low-fat farmers cheese
  • 300 g low-fat sour cream
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Directions

  1. Mash fresh dry farmers cheese through a strainer. Add sour cream and mix to incorporate. Fold a cheese cloth 2-3 times and place the farmers cheese mixture in the center. Make a bundle and tie it above the sink or a deep dish for 12 hours.
  2. After the whey is strained, add the remaining ingredients. Mix to incorporate.
  3. Line the paskha mold with a thin layer of fresh cheese cloth. Fill it in with the farmers cheese mixture. Press a weight on top of the mold and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove the mold and peel off the cheese cloth. Garnish with fresh berries, raisins, chocolate or caramel. Traditionally a candle would be placed on top of paskha.

Tips

  • To add some zing to the flavor, soak raisins in rum for about 30 minutes. Drain before adding the raisins to paskha.

Paskha_WM-6

Христос Воскресе!

 

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“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes,” I thought today, looking at the scale.  The quote, of course, is from my favorite “Anne Of Green Gables”.  The feelings are genuinely mine. I am certain, my love for desserts and baking has absolutely nothing to do with them…

So, today, purely to prove I’m not in denial, we are trying something new, and hope you will jump on board! I suggest we make a parade of skinny desserts.  If you want to participate – the rules are very simple:

  • Make a dessert under 200 calories per serving;
  • Post the recipe and photos in your blog with a link to this entry;
  • Leave a comment here, letting me know you are in.

Next week on Thursday, I will show off your photos with respective links in one blog post.

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And for now, I hope you enjoy my skinny creation.

Cinnamon-Fudge-Walnut Brownies

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

This fudge reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate because of its cinnamon flavor; and the nuts and melted chocolate chunks make it irresistible

01:00
00:15
00:45

cal Calories 170kcal

fat Total Fat 8g

sat fat Saturated Fat 4g

chol Cholesterol 26mg

sodium Sodium 76mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 25g

Serving size 46g Calories from fat 72kcal Fiber 2g Protein 3g Sugar 18g
20 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 5 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F (175⁰C). Coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread walnuts over ungreased rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes.
  4. Place milk and ½ cup of chocolate in a small sauce pan. Cook on low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts (about 3 minutes). Set aside. Lightly beat the eggs. Stir in eggs and melted butter with the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate. Mix in the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  5. Bake at 350⁰F (175⁰C) for about 27 minutes or until a wooden toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out with moist crumbs attached to it. Cool on in a pan on a wire rack.

 

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