Things To Do With Kids – Traveling

Last month my children landed in Moscow wearing a perfect shade of San Francisco Pale on their skins. These city kids were raised where outside requires constant adult supervision, they had only minor encounters with nice weather, and were yet to experience a water or electricity outage.

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In 3 weeks they were completely transformed into tan Russian-speaking sun-loving kids who had a bite of freedom and lots of bites of freshly grown produce right outside of their great- grandmother’s house!

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Their only swimming experience up till now was in a heated pool. I don’t quite get it, but apparently swimming in a river with cousins, fish, ducks and frogs is much more fun!

 

Grandma’s garden was an endless source of entertainment and nourishment. Apples, cherries, currant, strawberries – and that’s just the begging of the list. The kids had a blast playing in all this lusciousness!

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They even found it cool to be washed outside with water heated up by sun.

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Though, you should have seen my son’s excitement when he got back home and went to the bathroom: “Есть вода!” (The water is on)! Hmmmm….

 

Here are some Instagram favorites from the trip. Enjoy!

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Light Fruit Tart

We had our fair share of Valentine’s evenings that are quite memorable.   A few where we are sitting in this or that romantic restaurant packed with couples trying to be romantic pretending we are not hearing our neighbors trying to be romantic, pretending they are not hearing us trying to be romantic, pretending…  

The most special one is when while waiting to be seated in our favorite seafood joint, we met this older couple (he was a WWII veteran).  Here we are, thinking, wow!!!, what could be more inspiring than spending the evening with these old love birds!? They happily agree to share a table with us.  A few wine glasses later, Dave and I are just about to get all starry-eyed and envision ourselves  in 50 years still madly in love, when we find out that the couple is actually cheating on his hospitalized wife, they are swingers, and would love to invite us over to her place after the dinner!

So, this year we celebrated at home.  Of course I faced a dilemma.   How do you enjoy a festive dinner, and yet fit into that special night gown later on…

This recipe is a pretty light dessert – a much skinnier version of a traditional fruit tart, but still yummy and exceptionally easy to make.  Adopted from TasteOfHome

Print this recipe

LIGHT FRUIT TART

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tbs cold butter, grated
  • ¼ cup water, ice-cold
  • 1 package (8 ounces) fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups halved fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup fresh kiwi, peeled, and cut in circles

GLAZE:

  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cups unsweetened pineapple-coconut juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Yields 16 servings

DIRECTIONS:
Make crust: in a large bowl, mix flour, confectioners’ sugar, and butter until crumbly. Add water and mix the dough. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to form a ¼ inch-thick (about 5 mm) sheet.
Place onto an ungreased 12-in. tart baking platter. Cover lightly with foil. Bake at 350°/175⁰ C for 10-12 minutes for about 20 min, remove the foil and bake for another 1-15 min or until very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Make filling: in a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth with a hand mixer. Spread over crust. Arrange the strawberries, oranges and kiwi on top.
Make glaze: in a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch and juices until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool and drizzle over fruit. Refrigerate until chilled.

And finally, my most delicious desserts, my little Valentines.

Hustle-Free Whole Grain Breakfast

My baby is turning three this weekend. Sniff-sniff…

A couple presents from our friends arrived while he was napping today. One of them is this adorable Responsibility Chart. It includes cute little magnetic goals (such as “Load Dishwasher”, “Set Table”, “Make Bed”, or “Take Out Trash”) and little magnetic scores ( “You did it!”, “Looking Good!”, etc.) .  Ohm, I was so tempted to re-gift it to my husband, and then I turned the board around, and found even more goals: “Take a bath”, “Stop Whining”, “Say Please and Thank You”… It’s settled – the board is going to the husband, not the child! Sorry, guys!

Anyways, this friend who sent us the gifts should be the one writing a cooking blog. She can make gasoline taste good; and since they had a baby, she took the whole “healthy eating” concept up a level!.. or two… or three… nah, more like twenty levels…
So, today’s recipe is inspired by her. All my kids (including the husband) love it!

Print this recipe

MAKE-AHEAD WHOLE GRAIN OATMEAL

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of whole grain steel cut oatmeal (such as Bob’s Red Mill Organic)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients (minus milk) in a crock-pot or an oven-proof cast-iron pot.  I like to add cold milk right before serving (to quickly chill the oatmeal).

Set the crock-pot to cook on low or place the cast-iron pot into the oven, preheated to 175° F/80° C for 8 hours.

If desired, replace sugar with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon, add nuts, and/or your favorite dried or fresh fruit.

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