Hi! Remember me? Maybe?
My apologies for the lengthy hiatus, but I just needed a break from blogging. But, now I’m back–turning over a new leaf with the arrival of Spring!
I’m mighty jealous of all of you in the States who are pulling out your skirts and sandals and sipping on your iced coffees. It is definitely getting sunnier and warmer here, but it won’t be that nice out for a while yet. In fact, we welcomed the first day of Spring with snow/rain and really strong gusts! It was nasty out! There is still a lot of snow on the ground here, but it seems to be melting slowly but surely. There are small lakes in every yard and the streets are practically rivers, so I’m keeping optimistic that I will know warm weather once again :)
So. How have you been spending your time? The past two months have been interesting for me! New friends, new shenanigans, and of course, some tasty food. Shall we get down to it? I’ll give you the greatest hits version of my semi-recent Russian adventures.
I’ve been a little soup-cooking maven. I make a pot or two a week! Soup is definitely my favorite savory food. Some highlights:
There were other soups, but not many other photos. I have discovered/developed a great baked potato soup recipe, but for mysterious reasons, I can’t find any pictures of it …but I know I took some. Oh, well, here’s a picture of a loaded baked potato instead:
Another all-American favorite? Macaroni and cheese. I love the stuff. Unfortunately, mac ‘n’ cheese in a box does not exist here, and I didn’t have enough room to bring a vault of Annie’s along with me. So I did it the old-fashioned way with real shredded cheese, milk, and spices. I also snuck some veggies in there by finely grating carrots and zucchini and adding them to the cheese mix along with some sauteed garlic and onion. Let me tell you, my Soviet-style makaroni is super tasty.
Even though I didn’t bring macaroni with me, I did stock up on lots of peanut butter. One day, it dawned on me that despite my efforts, I probably won’t eat it all before summer, and that I don’t have to carefully ration each day’s portion. So I got a little nutty and whipped up noodles in peanut sauce! I melted some pb in a pan with a little soy sauce, garlic, lemon (limes are hard to find around here–weird, huh?), ginger, cayenne, and a pinch of sugar . Then I mixed it up with some noodles, broccoli, pepper, carrot, and green onion. I think I can toot my own horn for this one, because it was hella good. toot!
Since Lent started, I’ve been pleased to find a plethora of new vegetarian items. In general, vegetarian foods are hard to come by here; there is a lot of meat all over the place. However, I’ve been able to find tofu recently, and let me tell you, life is great! It isn’t the same as what we get in the US, but it tastes pretty good nonetheless. Oh, and it’s $1 per pack. I think I can handle that… :D So tofu tenders have been a big hit with me for the past couple of weeks.
And, of course, I’ve been eating plenty of oatmeal. There is a saying/rhyme in Russian, shchi i kasha, pishcha nasha, which doesn’t sound so cute in English: cabbage soup and oatmeal are our foods. The point is, oatmeal is the breakfast food of choice in these parts. Usually I go with a pretty standard bowl with apple or banana, cinnamon, and pb. But I made two excellent bowls last week that I want to share with you.
The first is just pretty. Tropical oats! Which I drank with some tea that is called “Jungle Holiday.” No, really, it is. It was a festive breakfast.
And then I invented a marvelous concoction: carrot cake oats! I didn’t know if this would work out, but it tasted awfully good! Plus, I felt like a cool kid for eating carrots at breakfast.
This little bowlful of joy was easy to make. I heated 1/2 a sliced banana and a finely shredded carrot in milk, when it was starting to boil, I poured in the oats. Part way through cooking, I stirred in a bit of chopped pineapple (and would have added a few walnuts, but I didn’t have any, oops) and about a teaspoon of honey. I sprinkled in some cinnamon and ginger for good measure. When the oats were cooked, I topped them with a little vanilla yogurt to imitate that yummy cream cheese frosting. I think it’s a winner!
Okay. This is a mondo huge post. I’ll be back later with more. You deserve a rest. BYE!
A couple gratuitous pictures for you:
We used to have a lot of snow. According to my students, it was a pretty rough winter, and a worse one than they’ve had for the past several years. I’m so glad we’re mostly done with snow for the season…
When it started to get a little bit warmer, most buildings had to put security tape around them so that people wouldn’t walk too close to the buildings. What’s the danger in walking next to a building, you ask? Well, there are giant icicles that develop and when it gets warm, they fall off the buildings! People die every year by being impaled by icicles! Death by icicle?!? Fact. There was a really big one that seemed ready to drop off, and a lot of people gathered outside to see what would happen.
Lastly, fill me in:
What’s your current temperature? Right now, it is about 34, but it feels so good! It might get up to the low 50s next week! Woo hoo!
Do you prefer cooking for yourself, or cooking for others? I love cooking for other people! When it’s just me, I don’t feel like putting in the effort to get too fancy, but when there’s someone there to eat it, I like to go all out and make something fun for dinner. I had a ball cooking garlic soup for my friends for lunch yesterday. It was a pleasant surprise :)