Rice Turkey Soup

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Yes, everyone, I am only now dealing with my Thanksgiving leftovers. I don’t remember if I told you, but one of the moms at the school where I work, decided to give me a turkey the night before Thanksgiving. I am not going to lie – it was an awesome surprise! So I baked it on friday after Thanksgiving (it needed to thaw and all that jazz), and we’ve been trying to destroy it ever since, but it hasn’t been working out very well. Even though Sam takes turkey sandwiches for lunch to work, there is only so much turkey one can eat. So last Sunday I decided it was time to make turkey soup, plus clean out my fridge from all the vegetables.

Here is what I did, and here is how I mainly cook soups. I take the biggest pot I have, fill it about 2/3 way up with water, throw in a chicken bullion cube, and let it come to a boil. Meanwhile I chop up the veggies. This time I used:

1 Green pepper

1 Zucchini

3 carrots

1/2 onion

I was so lazy I didn’t even sauté carrots and onions, though I usually do that!

Then I threw in 1 cup of rice and as much cooked turkey as I wanted (we still have a whole other container!)

Once the water was boiling, I threw all of the above into the pot for about 20-25 minutes, just make sure rice is thoroughly cooked! And don’t forget to turn the burner on low! Don’t forget bay leaves, I love mine from Penzey’s spice, and of course, salt and pepper, and maybe a little garlic!

 

Russian Blini (Crepes) Recipe

 

Being Russian doesn’t mean that you are oh-so-good at cooking Russian food! I’ve mastered a lot of it. Making soups and stews is a piece of cake! I could make salads (or as one of my friend’s referred to them “cold casseroles”) every day. But Russkie Blini have always been a challenge for me. Every time I’d try to make them, they’d turn out as pancakes! And if you know the difference between a pancake and a crepe, well – that’s a big fail! The worst was when they’d turn out as something in between crecake? or maybe panpe? But last Sunday I feel like I’ve conquered it, and all I needed to do was to follow my aunt’s recipe, which is tried and true. It’s also no family secret, that’s why I am sharing it with you!

Here is what you’ll need:

2 cups of flour

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups of milk (you can cheat here and divide the given amount in half and substitute milk with water)

1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl (you can cheat and use a mixer, I won’t tell anybody!)
Then add 1-2 tbsp oil into batter.
And you are ready to FRY!!!
Sam likes his crepes with syrup, but I am more creative – I love them with Nutella and bananas, or strawberries, or blueberries…
Have an awesome Thanksgiving everyone and Black Friday, if you do that, of course!
I’ll be back on Friday with a new post for you!
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!

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!