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!

Easter the Hutsons’ way!

Yay for Easter and holidays and a day off 🙂 Anyways I am going to start today’s post with my outfit of the day! The skirt was an amazing $12 find from Old Navy! The sheer blouse is something I got at Ragstock last week and the under shirt is something I’ve had for years! The shoes are pretty old too, I’ve had them since Russia!

I also made a traditional Russian Easter cake called “Kulich” – just some raisins and icing, and it turned out really good! I honestly didn’t expect that at all 🙂 Hehe

Once we got to my in-laws house, Sandra surprised me with spicy Korean carrots (those are super popular in Russia!)

While waiting for dinner, we entertained ourselves by adding on to the diorama!

Can you guess what we’ve added? Heh!

And after dinner we were all enjoying the view and taking pictures. Sam and I don’t have a lot of pictures together, so we finally took one!

And I took one with my mother-in-law as well 🙂 How gorgeous are we?

And finally, I just wanted to share some of the beautiful scenery with you, add on bird sounds and a little breeze and you get our Easter Day!

Happy Easter everyone!

xoxo

Zhenya

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

How I’ve been Killed softly…

Now before you read todays post, I highly recommend that you watch the entire (40 min long) presentation/speech by Jean Kilbourne!

I have posted many times about the importance of staying fit, it’s the way I’ve been raised, and it’s the influence of oh so many episodes of The Biggest Loser that I’ve watched. I have also emphasized the importance of eating healthy, of bringing all sorts of vegetables and fruits into your diet, if you don’t believe me – ask my husband. I also have covered a subject as sensitive as violence against women, based on a story of a high school friend of mine. But after watching this I couldn’t help but wonder – Have I also been killed? And killed softly?

I am going to have to say yes to this, admit that I, too, have been influenced by the ads, commercials, the many many TV shows, movies and everything that comes in between.

Growing up in Russia you’d think I was only exposed to the images of healthy looking peasant women, popping babies left and right:

You’re so wrong, I grew up reading Cool Girl, OOOPS! and YES! (if I remember all these titles correctly), an Eastern European version of Teen Vogue and Seventeen:

When we got our first VCR all we had were work out tapes. My mother was extremely obsessed with her self-image, she worked out at the gym 3 times a week after work, I was in 8th grade then. Needless to say I got hooked onto the Cindy Crawford workout videos, as a matter of fact up to this day, her workouts remain some of my favorite ones. Thanks to those workouts I always ran track in high school and college, nothing wrong with being athletic!

I was 16 when I got my first highlights. I was never happy with my hair color, I always thought it was dull and flat. How crazy is it to realize that this was 9 years ago! I haven’t dyed my hair since 2009 and I couldn’t be happier. But yet again, I am thinking of getting high lights this spring (Blake Lively obsession, unhealthy, right?)

Now I have always been anti Botox, Implants and all the other body “alterations”. I remember watching an episode from one of the earlier seasons of Nip/Tuck where a surgeon put the implant in the wrong way, so he then had to take it out, and there is blood and silicone and mess everywhere. I am a B cup and always will be, so I am pretty happy with what I’ve got!

Moving on to the subject of violence – I think some women should stop dressing slutty. I remember the SLUT walk Sam and I came across once walking around Minneapolis. No won’t mean no when you are dressed like a hooker. Growing up at a church we were taught one golden rule that applied to clothes – Would you wear it if you were going to go hang out with Jesus? And by hanging out I don’t mean death or anything, just a usual stroll in the park with the Lord. I am pretty sure Jesus would’ve been proud of my fashion sense, I am 25 and finally know how to dress myself!

Now how did this documentary affected me personally? Well they say step 1 is acknowledgement, and then what? Am I going to stop dressing up, using make up, reading Vogue and trying to achieve the unachievable? NO! Call me stupid, call me anything you want, but when we are walking the streets of Minneapolis my husband is proud he is married to me, everyday he tells me how pretty and sexy I am, and that’s what matters the most. I am sure a lot of you are getting madder at me by the second, especially now that I brought my husband up, but you can tell this same thing to yourself! You don’t need a guy to approve of you! When I lived in Manhattan my hair was two different colors for crying out loud! Yes, I can always say I was trying to pull off the ombre look, but who will I be kidding?

Anyways, it’s everyone’s personal choice whether to be affected by it all, or not, and it all depends on the way you’ve been raised, and what values have been implanted into your brain, because trust me, I never leave the house, unless I think that Jesus would’ve been proud of my outfit 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoxo,

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! 

Highlights of my Day! (SHOES, duh!)

Number 1: I got my Minnesota driver’s license (not in the mail yet, but I got it). For those of you who don’t know – to get a license in this wonderful land of 10,000 lakes, you gotta take the Permit Test! Wha??? Yes, you heard me. So I studied, studied, studied, and viola – passed it! I was also excited about getting a new picture on my license, and have my weight change from 120 to 117 lb! The lady at the DMV and I have also decided that my eye color is Grey! Took us a while to figure it out, she was going to put it down as blue, but my eyes are anything, but… Well anyways, once the license actually comes in the mail, I’ll let you all take a look 🙂

Number 2: Thrifting! I totally planned that! You know me! After I was done at the DMV, which was located on Lake and Chicago, I went east to check out the local Savers. On the way there, though, I got sidetracked to St. Vincent’s thrift store and got the most amazing $4 pair of shoes you can get!

The coolest thing is that they are made in Brazil, so I wanted to use this moment and say hi to all of my Brazilian friends out there! You girls are a ton of fun!

And last but not least: Sam and I made Peanut Butter/Hershey Hugs Blossoms – aren’t they tasty looking?

I hope you had a Fantabulous day! I love you all, and thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

PS. I did make it to Savers and it didn’t impress me much. I will do a more detailed review later in one of my upcoming posts, where I will talk about the most popular thrift stores in Minneapolis! So stay tuned!

 

Great Vintage Finds and Thoughts on becoming a Vegetarian

Today has been one strange day, but every day is strange in Zhenyaverse! That’s why I blog about my life, and not my neighbors life. Besides if I blogged about their life, you all would be depressed and crying your eyes out. Well, let me tell you a secret, there are sad times in my life, especially when I go visit my Grandpa at the hospital. Good thing he will be home soon!

The first thing I want to share with you, is that Sammy D from Sammy Davis vintage added me to her blog roll! Yup! I made it, I am famous now 🙂 You can check it out here http://sammydvintage.com/ , I am right there under Fab Fashionistas! That’s right, it’s me! Love you Sammy D! I will be bringing you vintage from Russia! 🙂

As some of you know I have recently made myself a skirt, and it’s all vintage too, because fabric is from the 70’s or so, it has paisleys people! Alright! (Can you tell I am hyper? Because I am, it’s all that coffee I’ve had tonight! Coffee and yoga! If you have never done yoga check out Namaste Yoga by Kate Potter, right now! Go and google it! She is that amazing! Well finish reading the post first! 🙂 ) So today I was looking around and found these amazing pieces of fabric, in the colors that I absolutely love. I also found a pair of white gloves, so if you have any ideas when and where to use them (other than Minnie Mouse on Halloween), I will be extremely grateful.

My mind wanders on! I followed a recipe I learned from one of my friends at the Bridal Shower, and made this wonderfully – amazing vegetarian dish.

Now vegetarian or not, it’s worth trying. The veggies are from the frozen food isle, so is the dough! Butter the pan, put it all in, sprinkle salt and spices, add some oil, cover up with the dough, and bake for about 40 minutes at 350 F. For those of you chicken lovers – you can add that too!

I have tried becoming a vegetarian before. A few years ago when I worked at DHC, my friend Jessica showed me a book called “100 things to do before you are old and boring”! And one of them was “being a vegetarian for a week”. Back then my week ended several days early, because I just couldn’t resist spaghetti! Yes, I have great memories of camp food! So maybe now, I will actually stick to the plan! Let’s see if I can be a vegetarian for a week!

PS If you love sewing and have ideas on what magic I can do to those vintage fabric pieces, let me know!

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!

 

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