Dumpster Diving

Okay, not really, but somewhat close! Let me explain:

A couple months ago I came across a blog called “Things I Find In The Garbage”  and was extremely inspired by it!

Today, on my way home from work I spotted something near our recycling container, and what do you know, it was one of those storage shelves, that are so nice to have in the kitchen, except I didn’t have one, well now I do 🙂

So after a thorough Clorox wipe down, this beauty found it’s new home next to my stove!

 

 

Of course there was a catch 🙂 There often is with free/thrifted stuff – the shelf was missing a small piece on one of the bottom “legs”, so I took the other 3 off, to make it stable:

 

And I finally have a rack for all of my pots and pans, potatoes and onions, oils and spices 🙂

 

I know for some dumpster diving/finding stuff on the side of the curb is extreme, but have you ever tried it? Have you ever found anything good? And don’t forget to check out the “Things I Find In The Garbage” blog by clicking on the link above!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Can you believe it’s Thursday already? o_O

Cheers,

Z

Tuna Soup

I am going through my soup stage. Plus it’s one of those dishes, that will last a while. I never freeze my soups though, I know some people do, but I prefer to just finish it during the week.

Today I was super excited to try making Tuna Soup, like my grandma used to, when I was little.

Here is the recipe:

1 Onion

3 carrots

4 potatoes

2 cans of tuna (I used one in water, I believe you can also get one in oil, but I would recommend tuna in water for this recipe)

salt, pepper, dill or parsley (if you are into that stuff 😉 )

You are going to start up by dicing the potatoes and boiling them in about 2 liters of water. Please don’t hate me for going all metric on you. If you are like me, you’ll wing it 🙂

 

Now you want to fully cook the potatoes, so give them about 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, prepare the carrots and the onions:

 

I used butter to sauté the vegetables, but if you want to, you can use oil 🙂

 

You are going to add the veggies and the tuna to the potatoes, once those are thoroughly cooked,

then let it cook for 10 more minutes or so, add salt, pepper, some dill, parsley if you want to, and you are done!

 

 

Enjoy the yumminess! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Xo,

Zhenya

 

Sorrel Soup

The what? The who? And where did I get it? First of all, here is what sorrel looks like:

 

It’s nice and sour, I remember eating it as a child, it’s amazing with sugar! Stumbling across sorrel while walking in the forest was considered the best of luck, but that was back when I was 7, of course. I don’t know if it grows in the wild here, but in Russia it did 🙂

Fortunately for me, my mother-in-law is growing some sorrel in her garden. And fortunately for you, I am going to share one of the best recipes of my childhood with you today!

1. You are going to start by making a broth (unless you are using a pre-made broth), I always make chicken broth, because I always seem to have chicken in my freezer. I really hope you know how to make chicken broth, but just in case you don’t, here is how:

– bring 1.5 lb of chicken in 64 oz of water to a boil, removing the foam from the surface;

– add 1 diced onion, and 1 graded carrot, boil for 45 minutes;

– add salt, pepper and bay leaf, boil for another 15 minutes;

– take out the chicken, cut it into small pieces, get rid of the bone (if you were using chicken on the bone), rid of the onion and carrot, toss those,

And your broth is done!

2. Wash and cut sorrel, make sure to get rid of the stems, unless you really want those in your soup ;).

3. Peel and slice 5 potatoes, dice another onion and grade one more carrot.

4. Sautee the onion and the carrot.

5. Bring broth to a boil, add the potatoes, and cook for 15-20 minutes.

6. Add onions and carrots, cook for 5 more minutes.

7. Add sorrel and cook for 2 more minutes.

8. Finally add the chicken, salt and pepper.

This soup is meant to be served with sour cream and half a boiled egg 🙂

 

 

I hope you try this recipe, fall is here, and hot soup is one of my favorite foods of the season 🙂

Xo,

Z

PS. I’ll have an update post tomorrow, just to share what’s been going on in my life 🙂

 

DIY Basil Limeade

My in-laws are wonderful people, they introduce me to amazing new stuff, a lot of times it’s something I would’ve never thought to try on my own, this time it was Basil Limeade, that came in a fancy bottle like this:

 

And apparently cost top dollar.

So I decided to make my own, plus my mother-in-law grows her own basil, so all I had to get were limes 🙂

Thanks to my fab new iPad and Epicurious app, I found a recipe for Basil Limeade in no time.

Here is how it goes:

 

But oh wait, we gotta make the syrup first 😉

 

So I got all the ingredients ready:

 

Then simply followed the steps mentioned above (the only difference though – I used zest of 2 limes, 2 cups of basil and lemon juice, instead of lime!):

 

I put the syrup into the fridge, so now I can have a glass of that basil goodness any time I want. Plus I am determined to get some seltzer tomorrow (or any type of unflavored carbonated water), I just love my lemonade bubbly! It also inspired me to make my own pesto!

I personally think this was a success, and probably a lot cheaper than buying a bottle of limeade in the first place.

Would you try something like this?

xo,

Z

“Clean Out Your Fridge Soup” of the day

I was experimenting with some veggies the other day and decided to make a soup. The thing is, I sometimes buy the products that I cannot possibly finish and I either have to throw them or use them ASAP. And what can be better than making some good filling soup? I know, the Russian in me will always love her soups! So here it goes, my very own recipe for “Clean out your Fridge Soup”.

Assuming you are like me and your fridge is ridiculously overstuffed with fruits and vegetables. For some reason the first ones always go faster than the second ones. Anyways, you want to decide which veggies are going to go into your soup! I took out some potatoes, one onion, one package of celery, 4 carrots, half a cabbage, two tomatoes, one beet, and a can of garbanzo beans (love them!) You are also going to need some stock, I used vegetable one, just because I had some and wanted to use it up!

So first you want to cut it all up – however you want it, small, medium or large – it’s your soup – go ahead and experiment. You are going to start off by frying the onions and the carrots. I just put a little oil on the bottom of the pot and fried in it, that’s

a) less dishes to do

b) you are going to add other veggies to sauté later, and do you really want to deal with moving it all from the pan to the pot? I don’t think so!

Then you are slowly one by one going to add celery and tomatoes.

Once those have been in the pot for a couple minutes, add cabbage and beets.

This is also when you want to add the stock – the amount of stock depends on the size of your pot, I put in one regular sized carton of stock and the rest I filled with water.

Last you want to add potatoes and garbanzos. Bring it all to a boil, and then let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes. I usually check whether my soup is ready or not by checking on the potatoes!

This recipe is great for the summer, and the soup can be served hot, warm or cold. Since there is no meat, it is also vegan and vegetarian (as long as you are not using chicken stock 😉 )

This soup is best served with lemon juice, salt and pepper, but you are free to use whatever spices you like.

Another thing – as one of my friends commented and said – Gute Fart! – it will make you go, more than you want, but not more than you need. It’s a great recipe for all of you out there trying to lose weight. I wasn’t trying to lose anything, except for maybe the produce from the fridge 🙂

I hope you give this recipe a shot and definitely let me know how yours turned out, what veggies you used and how you liked it!

And finally, you can also watch a video tutorial on how to make this soup, but it’s all in Russian:

Soup of the day

Hope you all had a great weekend!

xo,

Z

PS. Did you notice? I now don’t blog on weekends!

Sunday Chore Day: DIY Scented Linen Spray and other small things in life

Since yesterday was super busy for us, super busy meaning I went nuts baking wise, and made beer bread:

And Russian Semolina Cake aka Mannik:

The DIY spree continued into today, and started with laundry, and later making this scented linen spray:

DIY Scented Linen Spray

It’s easy, it’s ECO and PET friendly, it’s cheap – what can be better?

Plus I finally got my hands on the clothes that needed to be fixed, so the buttons got re-sewn, holes got fixed, and I can finally wear the clothes in public without being embarrassed of myself! I still have a couple things waiting to be altered, but watching South Park and eating cheese sticks with my husband sounds a lot more appealing now 🙂

xo,

Z

Breaking the Rules, Boiling Borsch(t)

I often get asked for my borsch(t) recipe, why? Maybe because I have a horrible habit of posting everything on Facebook. But maybe because it is good, and other people want to join in on the Eastern European goodness.

We are going to start with some water, chicken broth cube and chicken:

  

   While the chicken is boiling, let’s take care of the vegetables! Get your peeler and knife ready 🙂

 Onions and Carrots first, because they need to be fried!

 Fried in oil, of course!

  Then come the potatoes:

  The cabbage and the beets (the beets are also supposed to be grated, I just forgot to take a picture!)

   Now it’s time to take the chicken back out and cut it up ! Did you think I was going to leave it like that?

  It’s time to throw it all in! Beets usually cook the fastest, so put them in last!

 So that’s where they keep the color:

  You are also going to want to use some of these:

 But remember: Balsamic Vinegar goes in after borsch(t) has cooled off. Can’t put it into a boiling hot pot!

Enjoy!

I know I will 🙂

And so will Sam!

xo,

ZhenyAH!

How to stay SKINNY in America

It’s Monday, and we all know that a lot of people do the whole: “Starting Monday, I’m going to….” (fill in the blank!) thing. And most of the time that blank is – EXERCISE. Having lived in the States for about 2y 9m (yes, I’ve added up all of my trips here), I managed to maintain and in some cases even lose my weight. And the stress factor doesn’t count. So today, I thought I’ll share some of my tips. You should try them, because they work. And I am happy as can be, being under 120 lb!

1. Walk everywhere – it’s so easy to do living in the big city. Even when I lived in suburban New Jersey, I found some destinations I could walk to – like the CVS pharmacy, the post office or Church. Sometimes I just took walks around the neighborhood. I also had a friend who would meet me at Verona Park and walk or jog with me! Then I moved to the UWS and NYC is NYC, owning a car there is a bigger hassle and expense than not owning one! Plus the location was fab – I was less than a block away from Central Park. And that was a great play to walk/jog! Plus the peer pressure of Manhattan – staying skinny, working out, because everyone else is! After moving to Minneapolis, I can gladly say that I am still able to walk everywhere, plus Minneapolis turned out to be a city full of bikes! Which makes it even more awesome! I am now looking forward to next spring, when I will be able to ride my bike everywhere I can’t walk to 😉

Plus celebs like Kate Bosworth, Elle Macpherson and many others do it, so should you!

2. Take the stairs! That always works, whether you are at a mall or in a skyway. No stairs? Walk on the escalator! Besides if you only think that walking up is a good workout – you are wrong, because walking down is just as good of an exercise!

3. Drink water, but not just any water – drink lemon water, because it helps break down the carbs and digest food better. Sometimes Aloe Vera juice is a good source to run to, because it’s sold in the laxative aisle at your local store 😉 Another recipe that I follow sometimes is: a full glass of water, plus a tbsp honey, plus a tbsp NATURAL apple cider vinegar, 4 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp aloe vera. Mix it and drink in the morning, before your coffee, before your breakfast, before you basically do anything! That mix helps boost your metabolism!

Important: When I say lemon water I mean real water that has a slice of lemon in it, or at least some ReaLemon juice, not the bottled flavored water!

4. “I don’t want to be like them” technique – that is going to sound harsh, but I firmly believe that this method works! Call me a skinny bitch, but I am not giving it up! I simply say to myself – that I don’t want to be like them, I don’t want to be fat, I don’t want to have health problems, I don’t want to have to see a doctor about my weight. I’d rather be skinny and a head turner! Besides, clothes do look better on skinny people. And I will not take any excuses from anyone. Because in the end, wouldn’t you rather look like this?

5. Go to the farmer’s market. I do question where our local one get’s it’s produce, but hey I am not going to argue 2 dollar tomatoes. Anyways it’s easy to eat healthy in America, in spite of all arguments from people who think that US = McDonald’s. Over the past few years the number of health food stores increased drastically – all the Trader Joe’s and Co-ops and other fancy places. Yes, it’s going to be expensive, but some things are worth buying natural!

I remember reading a Zooey Deschanel interview for Self magazine, where she also argued with people who say that it’s hard to eat healthy when on tour. She made her point by saying that Whole Foods is in every big city these days, so those people are just making excuses.

6. Stop making excuses! I know old habits die hard, but there is a place for self-control, motivation and determination in everyone’s life. Besides, if you have a person to support you, it’s that much easier!

Have a happy fun Monday, and a great week everyone!

Xo,

ZhenyAH! 

My Ratatouille Experience

I’ve wanted to make ratatouille for a while, and for some reason I thought it was going to be a heavy meal loaded with calories. Oh how wrong I was. I followed the recipe which states that there are only 273 cal per serving. (check it out here) Now let me tell you, even though there was a Farmer’s Market on Nicolette Mall today, I failed to find egg plant anywhere! Mushrooms were also crossed off the list, since Sam doesn’t like them, and I am not a fan of parsley. Honestly, what I ended up with was pretty far off from the original recipe, but I am pretty happy with it, and it tastes good!

My cousin also asked me to take pictures, and since my camera broke the night before I left for the States, I am using the camera on my phone! Better than nothing, right?

1. Sauteing garlic (love the smell! give this post a 5 star if you like the smell of garlic!)

 

2. Slicing and laying out the zucchini

3. Onions on top! They did make me cry!

4. That green pepper only cost me 25 cents 🙂

5. Tomatoes are my absolute favorites!

6. Off into the oven it goes!

7. Done and DONE!

Love you all,

Zhenya

PS. There is parmesan in between every layer, just so you know!

PPS. I have this wonderfully amazing post coming up on my wedding rings! (Yes, wedding rings, I got two!) When? Next Wednesday! So stay tuned, that skinny size 4 1/2 finger of mine is getting pampered!

 

 

Sam and Zhenya’s favorite Cookies

When it comes to cookies, Chocolate Chip is the favorite one in our couple! There are so many different recipes out there, even bags of chocolate chips come with a recipe on them! Tried that once, didn’t work!

I will share our fav recipe with all of you today, so you can stop looking, but as you may have already notice in the picture above – we like to add M&M’s instead of regular chocolate chips!

The original recipe came from allrecipes.com , the one below is Sam and Zhenya’s 🙂

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a bag of M&M’s (we usually buy the 21.7 oz, or the 42 oz, and whatever is left over – we snack on!)
 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
Sam is the perfect batter mixer!
That recipe makes about 36 cookies, I usually put some canola oil on my hands when shaping the cookies, so that the dough doesn’t stick to my hands!
Happy Baking everyone, tomorrow I’ll be back with a new DIY project!
Xoxo,
Zhenya