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.
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?”
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!
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!
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.
Low calCalories 97kcal
Low fatTotal Fat 1g
sat-fat FreeSaturated Fat 0g
chol FreeCholesterol 0mg
carbsTotal Carbohydrate 20g
Serving size108gCalories from fat9kcalFiber3gProtein4gSugar0g
Pick and rinse buckwheat. Place all ingredients in a rice maker and cook on a white rice setting.
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!
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
Low calCalories 42kcal
fat FreeTotal Fat 0g
sat-fat FreeSaturated Fat 0g
chol FreeCholesterol 0mg
carbsTotal Carbohydrate 11g
Serving size64gCalories from fat0kcalFiber1gProtein0gSugar9g
1mediumyellow onion, smoked
2 x 14.5-ozcansofdiced tomatoes
1/2cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Juice of1orange, strained
Juice of1/2grapefruit, strained
Juice of1/2lemon, strained
2 1/2tspsea salt
1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper
Process tomatoes in a blender on high speed for about 2 minutes or until smooth. Pour processed tomatoes into a dutch oven.
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.
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.
In the meantime, sterilize the bottles or let them go through a full dishwasher cycle.
Using a funnel, ladle the ketchup into the bottles, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rims and secure the lids. Label, and refrigerate.
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!
Another traditional Russian Easter dish, a symbol of joy and blissful eternity.
fatTotal Fat 7g
sat fatSaturated Fat 4g
carbsTotal Carbohydrate 13g
Serving size43gCalories from fat63kcalFiber0gProtein6gSugar11g
300g low-fat farmers cheese
300g low-fat sour cream
1tspvanilla bean paste
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.
After the whey is strained, add the remaining ingredients. Mix to incorporate.
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.
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.
To add some zing to the flavor, soak raisins in rum for about 30 minutes. Drain before adding the raisins to paskha.
“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.
This fudge reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate because of its cinnamon flavor; and the nuts and melted chocolate chunks make it irresistible
fatTotal Fat 8g
sat fatSaturated Fat 4g
carbsTotal Carbohydrate 25g
Serving size46gCalories from fat72kcalFiber2gProtein3gSugar18g
3/4cupall purpose flour
1/2cup packed brown sugar
1cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350⁰F (175⁰C). Coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.
Spread walnuts over ungreased rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes.
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.
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.
Privet! My name is Anastasia. I was born and raised in Russia, and moved to the States in my early 20s. I am a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful babies and a wife of their wonderful dad. I’m living the dream, loving my family to pieces, and getting lost in books when I’m not busy chasing the kids around the house!