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

If I am going to be raptured, I want to at least be fed!

When there is nothing to blog about, you blog about cooking, or as I like to call it blooking (blogging + cooking, get it?) Today is also the famous rapture day, and I am sure you’ve heard enough jokes about it, so I am going to pass. But let me tell you that this morning Sam and I did a test “Will I be raptured” and well, we didn’t get into the lucky number! So that’s why I am cooking! Dinner today consisted of korean carrots (brought from a store, so I am not taking any credit for that!), chicken and mushrooms and Turkish doughnuts (I still don’t like Turkey, even though those doughnuts turned out pretty good!)

Chicken and mushrooms 

1. Stir fry chicken and mushrooms, use butter! There can never be too much butter! I love you, Julia Childs!

2. Add milk and spices

3. Pour everything into the casserole dish, sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 15 min.

4. All done and ready to be consumed!

Turkish Doughnuts 

Remember the fry party I went to? Well I found this recipe, but we never got around to making those, and ended up eating ice cream. So I finally decided to give them a shot today.

1. Combine flour, cinnamon & sugar. Put 3 eggs into warm water for 3 min.

2. Melt butter in one cup of water and 1 tbsp sugar over medium heat.

3. Add flour to the melted butter, beat, then add eggs, one at a time, and beat with a wooden spoon!

4. Shape the batter into doughnuts!

5. Oh, boiling and bubbling!

6. And finally done!

Dunkin Dounuts is still my fav place for doughnuts!

 

DIY Bridal Shower Gift

I am attending a wedding next weekend, and this Sunday I’ve been invited to a bridal shower. There will be a separate post about this shower on Sunday, but so far, we’ve all been asked to wear something pink, with ruffles. And since this dress wasn’t available,

I had to  settle for something else (which I am going to keep a secret for now).

Anyways, another thing we had to do for the bridal shower – is prepare a scrap book page with a recipe or two for the newlyweds. I loved the idea, and decided to share 3 recipes that I love. Why 3? One for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Now I am not going to share recipes, I can, if you really want me to. But today’s post is dedicated to how I made those pages.

I started out with cutting out 3 pages (there was a particular size I had to match) out of one big scrap booking sheet.

Then I took 3 large index cards

Trimmed them, wrote “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” in black Sharpie

And all I had to do was fill the index cards out! Easy-peasy!

The bachelorette party post is coming this Sunday! Stay tuned!

Honey, won’t you buy me a Deep Fryer?

Do you know how much calories are in deep fried food? Nevertheless we eat the French Fries, Chicken, Pickles, Oreos, Apples, Bananas, Corn, Doughnuts. You name it, we’ve deep fried it at one point in time or the other.

Today is Kentucky Derby, and we also had a Fried Party! Deep fried zucchini, mozzarella cheese, hummus, some questionable onions and french fries! I still smell like the fryer! The pork was baked though! And then there was ice-cream, and nothing beats that!

Some interesting, and slightly weird topics were brought up during the Fried Party:

– The mullet vs. the rat’s tail (for those of you born in the ’80s)

– Chelsea Handler, Patti Stanger, Wendy Williams, and Joel Mchale

– Did you know that jockeys can only weigh 126 lb (and that’s including all of their equipment?)

– Russian Winnie the Pooh, and that if you have an obsession with American Winnie the Pooh, you most likely have some disorder (according to my high school English teacher)

– Eye brow waxing and threading

– I didn’t know I was pregnant!

– Hair straighteners and a comb out of boar’s hair!

– Rogaine

So next time I want fried food, I am gonna wait till Minnesota State Fair, and have something weird there!

PS. I had a blast!

Easter Pie. Breaking Traditions.

The Russian Easter tradition calls for a tall pie-like baked product, also know as “Kulich”. Now, not being a fan of the phallic symbol meaning, very often ascribed to this specific product, I decided to make an easter pie, using the same recipe, and my new oven!

1. Start off with melting 1 stick of butter (150 grams), and beating 5 eggs into it.

2. Add 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) white sugar

3. Add 7 oz (200 grams) of Cottage Cheese

4. Then 2 1/2 cups of flour

5. Don’t forget 2 tbsp baking powder! Then mix all the ingredients

6. Add some raisins (that’s the traditional filling, though this year I saw them add candied fruit). Pour/scrape/do whatever you can to get the batter into the pan! Here is mine, sitting in the oven @ 350 F/180 C.

Leave it there for 40 minutes or so! And Ta-Da!

You can add icing, or powdered sugar, but I used 0% fat cottage cheese, so what icing are you talking about? 🙂

Oh yeah, we ate some of it too!

Xoxo

Going Herbal

I am all for healthy lifestyle, healthy food, healthy (organic/natural skin or body care), I have recently watched this video on YouTube

And decided to try and give up tea and coffee, and everything else that has caffeine. That requires making my own herbal tea, because it’s a pain in you know what to buy in Russia. Second, it’s cheaper to buy herbs at the drugstore and make it myself.

I quickly googled herbal tea recipes, obviously Google came up with over 1,200,000 results, all I had to do was scan those recipes to learn what I needed to buy. I already had chamomile and sage. I came home with 6 new boxes, from dandelion to peppermint, and decided to try one of the recipes out.

Since I am not drinking coffee this week, I had no regret pouring the leftovers from my french press down the drain. And started making my tea.

For this recipe I used:

1 tbs peppermint

1 tbs chamomile

And water! Genius, I know! I also use rose hips syrup or honey instead of sugar!

PS. Why French Press and not a regular tea pot? My personal preference, besides it’s glass, so you can see all the herbs “swimming” inside!

Also – lemon juice is something you definitely want to buy when going herbal!

I miss American honey that comes in a plastic teddy bear 🙁 BOO!

The list of herbs that I bought: Dandelion, Rose Hips, Juniper, Peppermint, Yarrow

Happy Drinking

Well, you know what I mean!

Xoxo

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

I’ve been wanting to make those for a few months now, just never came around. And today I finally did! I even went to the store to buy honey especially for this recipe! The recipe itself is from here

http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/chewy-granola-bars/Detail.aspx

I changed it around a bit, used less oats (4 cups, instead of 4,5 and added raisins instead of chocolate chips!). I was also going to add walnuts, but they were in the shell, and I didn’t want to waste time!

Here is my $1 honey. I am not sure how much real honey is really in there, as

long as it works!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the greased pan

 

 

 

 

 

Now here are the mixed ingredients in the pan, waiting to be baked!

Don’t let the raisins fool you, they are really raisins, and not chocolate chips!

 

 

 

And here is the final product cooling on the window sill waiting to be cut up and eaten! Breakfasts and snacks for the next couple days – guaranteed!

Pancake Week/Maslenitsa

The story of Maslenitsa goes back to Ancient Russia, it’s a sacrificial ritual when a scarecrow representing Winter gets burned down in front of people, and symbolizes the arrival of spring. It is celebrated everywhere in Russia,

and is one of the favorite holidays of many. There is a Maslenitsa celebration in a city about 15 miles away from my hometown in Russia called Suzdal. Unfortunately my last experience there wasn’t as pleasant as I hoped, but it was an experience which helped me make a decision never to attend public Maslenitsa celebrations anywhere in Russia.

Another Maslenitsa tradition is similar to a catholic one on Ash Wednesday. After the scarecrow is burned down, it’s ashes are distributed among people and some chose to put those ashes on their faces, not just the forehead, but the nose, the cheeks, and the chin as well. It is supposed to bring you good luck and prosperity.

But my favorite part of Maslenitsa are the pancakes, though you can only eat so many. And, as Sam said, when he was in Russia – You guys have pancakes on every corner.

Today I want to share my favorite pancake recipes with you.

1. Dutch babies, also known as Seattle Dutch babies, are the baked pancakes, that are probably my favorite pancakes of all times.

There are many recipes for Dutch babies on line, so I will let you find the one you like. I have tried many of them, and they all turn out very well. There is also a great variety of toppings you can decorate yours with. So good luck.

2. Healthified pancakes with yogurt, oatmeal and banana.

I have learned to make these while living  on the UWS in NYC. And again, there are many recipes for these out on the Internet, and when I make those I seriously wing it. But here is my approximate recipe:

2 eggs, 1 cup milk, mashed banana, 1 cup oats, 2 cups whole wheat flour, cinnamon, some Splenda or Agave, one yogurt (any flavor). First you make the oats, I usually stick mine in the microwave for about 2 min with some water. Meanwhile mash up the banana. Once the oats are done mix them in. Mix eggs, milk, and sugar separately, then combine with oats and banana, add yogurt and flour. Make sure it’s all mixed well, once you are done start pouring the mix on the pan. These pancakes turn out thick, and filling, so two are usually enough for me. And you can always freeze them too!

3. And the last one is the Crepe recipe, that is used in Russia and the rest of the Eastern Europe. Crepes are what people call pancakes there! So make sure you are aware of that fact! I also have to admit that I have no idea how to make those, in spite of my Russian background, but here is my aunts recipe for you (sorry it’s in metric)

300 grams flour
3 eggs
3 cups of milk (or dilute milk with water)
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
add vegetable or sunflower oil to the batter.
I heard a lot of people say that making crepes depends on the pan, make sure you chose a good one! I don’t know what my excuse is, maybe it’s the pan, maybe it’s the fact that I like the thicker kind of pancakes.
Toppings wise, use your imagination, but remember pancakes with caviar are a kitsch.
I added a cartoon about Maslenitsa, my fav. Smeshariki, couldn’t resist! Enjoy!
http://rutube.ru/tracks/388914.html?v=093ce213c9688533ef8a1b7c4bc3b5b0