Baby Greens Sweet Potato Soup

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Creamy without any cream. Blended sweet potatoes have a creamy consistency by themselves. I baked some sweet potatoes ahead of time thus this soup was super fast to make. Heathy and nutritious and the greens add more texture and flavor.

1 onion diced
2 celery sticks diced
2 carrot sticks diced
3 baked sweet potatoes
2 cups tightly packed baby spinach and baby kale
2 vegetable bullion cubes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt pepper
Smoked paprika and dried basil for garnish.

In a pot sauté onions with olive oil till golden. Then add celery, carrots, water, and bullion cubes. Boil till carrots and celery are soft. Add baked sweet potato and bland everything in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to the pot if used a blender and add greens to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer till greens become wilted. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with smoked paprika, dried basil, and drizzles of olive oil. Enjoy!

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Food Venture in Philadelphia

collage in PA 2013

The weekend before last, we went to Philadelphia for the weekend. Sashenka had to do some stuff for his job so Aurelius and I went with him. Every time we go somewhere I try to find an interesting place to try new food. And since I do not eat dairy and we are vegetarian our search is already narrowed for us from the thousands of dining options that big cities have to offer. I searched online for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Philadelphia and was overwhelmed with the vast variety of eateries that they had! With great difficulty I narrowed it down to three and hoped we would have time to stop by at least one.

We stayed with Sashenka’s family and they were extremely hospitable and went out of their way to make vegetarian food for us. We had a cookout with grilled shiitake mushrooms and veggies, home pickled bell peppers, roasted eggplant and veggie dish, and rice. They also made ‘varenikie’ with fresh picked strawberries for dessert. And of course the best part was that we got to see everyone and Aurelius got to meet his cousins!

On Sunday we went to center city Philadelphia to shop at H&M because we do not have one in our city. On our way there we stop by a soap shop called Lush. It was an interesting place. They had solid toothpaste in tabs that you chew and then brush your teeth with and lots of huge and pretty bath bombs. We bought their solid shampoo. I picked one that smelled like rosemary. We than went to a park where they had a fine art exhibit. The weather was lovely and we had a great time. After all the walking everyone was hungry including Aurelius so we headed towards Hip City Veg Cafe. I breastfed Aurelius and we had the best vegan lunch that we ever ate out! Sashenka ordered a Buffalo Bella burger which was a crispy Portabella mushroom with celery slaw, tomato & buffalo sauce. I had the Bistro Bella burger with herb glazed grilled Portabella mushroom, dijon, olive tapenade, tomato, artichokes, red onion & arugula. We shared a side of sweet potato fries with cilantro-black bean dip which was a great combo and I will try to replicate it at home! For drinks we had the Groothie which is a green smoothie with organic apples, organic leafy greens, bananas & seasonal fruit and a Green Lemonade made with fresh squeezed lemons & organic kale juice, lightly sweetened with raw organic agave nectar. I also ordered a vegan cupcake that I saved for later for tea (but it was not as good as the rest of the food). Sashenka and I try to avoid mock meats for they are not healthy and if we really wanted to eat meat we would eat good quality meat. But we just do not want to eat meat and thus do not want to try to imitate it either. We were very happy that they had burgers with Portabella mushrooms but their menu also offered a veggie burger that we didn’t get to try. I think that the art of a great burger is all of the other details that you put into it. Instead of having the usual lettuce tomatoes and onions with ketchup mustered and mayo these burgers had olive tapenade, artichokes, arugula, and celery slaw. Now that’s two very creative burgers! Not to mention that the Portabella was very juicy and tasty! And did I mention that everything is vegan?! The atmosphere and decor was very crisp, clean and fresh. Sashenka really enjoyed it! Now what we didn’t enjoy was a 12 hr drive back home at night with a 7 month old! But it’s all part of life.

Oh I almost forgot! Before we left we stopped by a Russian food store and bought all kinds of goodies! Like Ukrainian chocolate, unrefined sunflower oil, buckwheat, ‘vareniki’ with cabbage and potatoes, kvass (you have to try it and its even good for you if it was fermented naturally and has natural ingredients and no preservatives or artificial flavors), and a whole lot of other things that I can’t remember right now.

So that was our food expedition in Philadelphia. Next time we go we hopefully can stay for a longer time and visit more places.

Zucchini ‘Pasta’ and Wilted Chard

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I found this recipe in my monthly vegetarian times issue. It is very filling and the spiciness adds warmth to this dish. I followed the recipe exactly except I did not mix the nuts into the sauce but grinned-ed them up and served them on top. I think the best part is the wilted chard. Sashenka said that you can’t separate one part form the other and that it tastes best as a whole dish. Hope you enjoy!
Wilted Chard

  • 4 oz. Swiss chard leaves, stems removed (4 cups)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice

Zucchini with Spicy Romesco

  • 4 large red bell peppers, chopped (6 cups)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped (3 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • ¼ cup raw hazelnuts
  • 4 large zucchini, peeled

1. To make Wilted Chard: Toss together all ingredients in large bowl, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Set aside to marinate.

2. To make Zucchini with Spicy Romesco: Blend bell peppers, tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, garlic, chili powder, and red pepper flakes in food processor until smooth. Add almonds and hazelnuts, and process until well combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Slice zucchini into noodles with spiral slicer, and add to sauce.

4. Divide Wilted Chard among individual serving plates. Top each serving with 2 cups Zucchini with Spicy Romesco.

7 month EC update

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7 months update on EC: I know that there is a huge gap between my last update and know but I did write more than 3 page essay for a five month update but I did not save it before publishing and it was lost. I was very frustrated but that’s life and things happen. So here is the 7 months update on EC…

When is a child considered potty trained? One person online said “A child is considered FULLY potty trained when there are NO accidents during the day”. Some people consider being potty trained when a child asks to go to the potty before he makes an accident. And then there are others who say a child goes to the bathroom by himself when he needs to go. Well Aurelius is only 7 months and he can’t walk, so he can’t take himself to the bathroom but he does communicate that he needs to go and we also have whole days when he stays dry and even sleeps through the night dry. Thus, I do not know when we will pronounce him ‘potty trained’ but we don’t believe that is the main point for now.

We would generally have on and off days where, for example, he would be dry for two days straight and pee in his diaper on the third day or one wet diaper every two days. But the past three days he has been completely dry and out of four nights he had one wet diaper. He strictly goes on the potty for number 2. We have one poppy diaper about once a month. During naps, he either wakes up to go to the bathroom and then goes back to sleep or holds it till when he wakes up. Most of the time he will not fall asleep if we do not take him do the bathroom before nap time or bedtime.

Yes he cannot talk yet but he has a certain cry/noise that he does when he has to go. And when we take him we just hold him on his potty or over the toilet (or on the grass). This saves us a lot of diapers and baby wipes! I have noticed that we practically do not use baby wipes anymore because we are not constantly cleaning up messes. Most of the time I would just use one baby wipe to clean his bottom or even toilet paper or just warm water with soap. If we throw diapers away mostly it’s because they do not close from constant opening and closing. But he mostly wears cloth diapers that I made or real underwear. We put disposables on if we go out. But he really hates them and tries to pull them off. I used this very easy pattern to make wool diaper covers and put a pre-fold diaper inside. When it was colder he would wear wool pants that I made as well. I buy 100% cashmere sweaters from goodwill and cut them up and make these adorable (if I may say so) diaper covers. They are super soft, warm, natural, and don’t let water through.

As I mentioned before, Aurelius cannot walk yet, therefore he relies on us to take him to the bathroom; just as he relies on us for food and protection. He is a human being and we need to treat him with dignity and not let him sit in his waste. And in return he is a happy baby who is rarely fussy and so far hasn’t cried ‘just because’. We believe that a lot of the unknown crying happens because babies are just asking to go to the bathroom and are holding to the last minute. Or maybe we are imagining things. What do you guys think?

collage wool pantscollage

Birthday Cake Smetanik

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So I haven’t eaten any dairy for about 6 months and the past two weeks before my birthday I had the greatest craving for ‘smetanik’ or a sour cream cake. After a store bought one did not satisfy my cravings (because it tasted nothing like the real thing, creamy plastic on dry bread with sugar would have tasted better) I decide to make my own. I knew that ‘kolobok’ would suffer from it but it would be only for a little bit. I promise I will have just a little piece.  I found this Russian recipe online and proceeded to create my obsession. The recipe turned out very simple and easy to make -coming from someone who does not like baking and finds everything that has to do with dough or flour difficult. This is a quick cake to make; takes a little bit more work than brownies but tastes unbelievably superior. My only complaint about the recipe is WAY too much sugar! Next time –if there is a next time- I will put one third of sugar into the cream. This cake is NOT dairy-free for it has condensed milk, butter, and sour cream in it. When I’m done breastfeeding I will make this cake to celebrate!

100g Butter

2 eggs

1 can condensed milk

3/4 c flour

1-1.5 TBSP cacao powder

1 tsp baking soda

1tsp vinegar

700-800 g sour cream

3 c sugar (use less)

 

Melt butter in a double boiler (or use a microwave if you have/use one). In a mixing bowl beat eggs by hand or on slow speed in mixer. Add butter to the eggs slowly while mixing and mix till it’s a single consistency. Then add the condense milk and mix well. React baking soda with vinegar and add it to the mix. Mix in flour adding little at a time. Preheat oven to 350F, butter a cake pan, and pour half of the batter in to it. Put it in the oven and let bake for 15-20 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile add cacao powder to remaining batter and mix throughout. Take out the first layer and let cool. Butter the pan again and pour in the chocolate batter. Bake as previous piece. When it will be done take it out and let cool. While it’s baking you can start making the cream. Pour the sour cream into a mixing bowl, add sugar to it and start mixing till sugar dissolves. When the two cakes have cooled cut of the edge and crumble it and set aside. You will use this to decorate the cake. Slice the two cakes in half so you have 4 layers of cake. Place the first half on a plate and cover with the sour cream and poke holes in the cake to help the cream absorb into the cake. Add a different color cake and spread cream in it, then the third and spread cream in it as well and the last and spread cream on it. Decorate the cake with the crumbs and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.

Tip: When I attempted this cake twice with regular Daisy brand sour cream it would spill off the sides of my cake. If I attempted to dump all of the cream on the cake as the recipe calls for my cake would be swimming in a 5 foot pool of sour cream. This would also result in a huge mess. So I just always had a lot of sour cream left over and the cake tasted dry. My belle-soeur informed me that sour cream in Russia is way thicker for some reason and if I substitute 1/3 (maybe more) of the sour cream for cream cheese then it would hold together and I could get more into the cake and it would absorb better. I have not tried this yet but am planning on when I make this cake again. If you try it let me know what works for you.

 

Millet Fritters

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  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup millet
  • 1/2 veggie bullion cube
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring 1 cup of water to boil and add the millet and bullion cube. Cover pot and reduce heat till simmering and cook for around 45 min or until done. Meanwhile saute veggies on olive oil. When millet is done and has cooled a little bit, mix together veggies, egg, millet, basil, rosemary,  salt and pepper. Form into patties and fry them on a skillet until golden on each side. Enjoy!

9 grains for breakfast or lunch

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I found this nine grain blend at our local health/bulk store and it consists of Hard Red Wheat, White Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats, Corn, Millet, Buckwheat, Flax Seed. It is delicious and full of nutrients. What’s more, it takes very little time to prepare. Just put in a pot with a one to two ratio of water and it is done in less than 10 min. You can enjoy it as sweet or savory and for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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Breakfast:

Cook one cup grains and two cups water

Top with nuts, barriers, and maple syrup

Lunch:

1 Vegan bouillon cube

1 Tbsp EV Olive Oil

Dried basil

Salt and Pepper

Bring two cups of water and one cup of grains to a boil. Add the bouillon cube and oil. And season to taste with basil salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of spinach with fresh slices of tomato and avocado.

Eggs and veggies

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Instead of having your eggs with potatoes have them with vegetables for a tasty healthy alternative.

1 purple Onion
1 head of Broccoli
1/2 Green bell pepper
1 Carrots
5 little Portabella Mushrooms (or one big one)
Dried basil
Salt
Pepper

Slice and dice the vegetables a sauté in grape seed oil. Season with salt, pepper and dried basil. Serve as a side for breakfast lunch or dinner.

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Linguine

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Strong desires push you to create things. I wanted some creamy pasta and I think I figured out a way how to get some. Creamy pasta with an earthy aroma pairs perfectly with garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

1 Onions
1/2 lb (or more)Portabella Mushrooms
3 cloves Garlic
1/2 c Almond milk
1 tbsp Arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp buckwheat flower
Parsley
Pepper
Salt
Olive oil

Pasta

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, sauté diced onions, mushrooms, and crushed garlic on olive oil. When the onions have browned a little add salt, pepper and parsley along with almond milk, buckwheat powder and arrowroot powder. Let it simmer for a few minutes and transfer into a food processor. When the pasta is done cooking drain and add a little bit of olive oil (if an extreme garlic lover add some crushed raw garlic with the olive oil) and serve topped or mixed in with this sauce. Sprinkle parsley and cracked pepper on top. Enjoy!