How goes it, how are you? How has your week been going?
Mine drastically improved Monday night when a certain LVP told me that she was going to be able to visit me in the beginning of December! I. AM. SO. EXCITED. Shakin’ in my shoes, I tell you. And even more pumped when, coincidentally, I “earned” a day off in December because I agreed to work today! I didn’t have that planned, but it couldn’t have worked out better! (Today is a national holiday in Russia, and according to my contract I didn’t have to work, but my school didn’t realize this and hadn’t canceled my class. Not a problem because it was my favorite group, anyway!) Everything is coming up roses, I tell you.
Roses, despite the snow. I know, I know, Colorado got buried last week, but I never can believe when it starts snowing wherever I am. And as far as I’m concerned October 31 is too early to start. Even if I am in Russia… But anyways, it did make for a pretty walk home from our Halloween party on Saturday night.
After said Halloween party, we crashed at my friends’ place. Caro and I woke up strangely early, well before the apartment’s actual inhabitants. Caro went home, and I went on a mission to find bacon and pancake mix (I’m probably the only blogonaut who doesn’t know how to make pancakes without a mix. Whoops. Will fix that). After wandering around Mytishchi for a gazillion years without finding a grocery store, I finally gave up and wandered into a produkty, a mini-grocery, but all the food is behind the counter and you have to ask for what you want. Not so easy for someone who just bumbles along po-russkii… But, somehow I persevered and walked out with 10 eggs, a chunk of meat stick (ahem, “bacon”), and some oladi mix (they’re like little fried buckwheat pancakes). And then I made breakfast for my slumbering friends.
I know that a big, eggie breakfast is a perfect hangover cure, and let me tell you, those kids needed my foods. The oladi did not work out at planned, and instead of the yummy, fluffy, pancake-like plops of goodness they usually are, they came out dense and brown/ slightly burned. But we ate them anyways. (And I think my camera ate my photo, because it is missing now.) I also scrambled all those eggs with a bit of onion, and cut up the meat stick to make “bacon.” Ta-da!
An easy way to say “thanks” to my friends for letting me sleep at their house almost every weekend (because we live so far apart from each other).
After whiling away the hours and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas in Russian, Shane and I wandered to the local market to look for hats. No luck. So we decided to wander into Moscow to get some books and meet with Heather. Much luck! I am a reading machine these days, and already needed something new. I also decided to read a “real” book with my upper-Intermediate class, so I had to see what was available (any ideas out there for a book that is not too hard to read, but would appeal to younger (17-24) adults?). After this, we were starving so we went to Okhotny Ryad, an underground shopping center just outside of Red Square, where we knew we would find something to eat.
We decided to go to Il Patio, an Italian chain restaurant, and to order 3 dishes to share. We started with penne pasta in a roasted red pepper sauce with cheese and olives:
And then nommed our way through the pizza primavera, with tomato, onion, eggplant, broccoli, and arugula. But no cheese! We didn’t realize it was going to be a cheeseless pizza, but I think we all liked it pretty well, nonetheless.
Finally, we tried pollo parmagiana, which had a really tasty crispy breading (not greasy, just quite crisp!), a tiny salad, and some waffle fries. Yeah. Waffle fries….
And, of course, our trusty heroine figured that the meal needed to be ended with a sweet treat, so we decided to share the banana split!
The waitstaff totally thought I was a cuckoo, because first I answered the woman in Russian even though she spoke to me in English, then I took pictures of all our food, and finally I combined the contents of two almost-empty water bottles into one. We decided to bounce before they chased me out of there with pitchforks…
Still, it was a good meal, and felt like the perfect amount of food in my belly, and I was happy to have a chance to try several different dishes. Good work, team.
When I came home, however, Katya told me that I had to eat some of the cake she had bought. Look at this baby!
It is very thin layers of cake with walnuts and whipped cream with chocolate glaze. Since I’d just eaten dinner and dessert, I didn’t really want any, but you practically have to eat something sweet when you drink tea in Russia (which I wanted because I was cold). So I obliged, and took the littlest piece that Katya would let me (and she still thought it was too small!) to try some.
If you couldn’t tell, it was very tasty. And surprisingly light… Oh, Russia. Your sweet treats are going to catch up with me soon….
Anywhoodle, Monday was a day off, so I decided to totally rest, relax, and recuperate. I started my day with a cup of cocoa and whipped cream, and some pumpkin patch oatmeal (it looks like a pumpkin, right?). Katya had brought home a GIANT bag of apples (she’s so rad) and so much apple-snacking was in line.
I also made the best salad I have had in a lonnnng time for dinner. This baby had:
- lettuce mix
- 1/2 tomato
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 ear of corn
- big squeeze of lemon
- about 1 T olive oil
- several shakes ground ginger
- a shake or two of cayenne
- salt and pepper
Tuesday started with some polka-dot oats (I have to entertain myself somehow!) and a big ol’ piece of ooey, gooey kachapuri (Georgian cheese bread).
Today, I kept myself occupied by making soup! I decided that I had a hankerin’ for some good tomato soup. I went out to the store, and bought 1.2 kilos of tomatoes, and went to town, using this recipe as a guide. The whole thing was surprisingly easy to put together, so now I know that I need to make soup much, much more often (especially since it’s like, my favorite food. After ice cream, of course). I almost didn’t blend the ingredients together, because it was quite tasty as a chunky soup, but then I changed my mind and pureed them so that the flavors would meld more. <before/after>
I ladled out a great big bowl and ate my yumdelicious soup with a piece of black bread and melted cheese. I think tomato soup is a perfect comfort food, and it feels so warm and inviting on a cold day, don’t you think?
NOM. And just to round things off, I had ants on a log for dessert. I have to do something with all the extra celery from my soup! But, a happy ending to a happy meal. Happy happy.
Would you mind telling me….
How do you feel about snow? I am definitely a fan of warm hot weather. I get mopey about the long, cold winter. But, I have to admit, the first snow IS kind of exciting and pretty….
What was your favorite childhood treat? I wish I could say ants on a log or something cute and natural like that, but I looooved Swiss Cake Rolls when I was about 8. Thanks, Little Debbie.
And your gratuitous picture of the day:
Heather took this picture a couple weeks ago outside of Red Square. It is actually facing Okhotny Ryad, the underground center where we ate on Sunday night. It almost always looks this busy, but not usually this pretty! The yellow building you see in the background is Manezh, a big exhibition center. If you walked out of the picture to the left, you would get to the Kremlin entrance.