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Friday, April 18, 2014

Russian Easter Recipes 2014 ♥

Here is a collaboration of traditional Russian Easter dishes that I ate growing up, this year Easter falls on the same day. Easter or Paskha is the most important religious observance of the year in the Russian Orthodox Church. Easter in Russia is a lot more than just a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

      In Russia Easter is usually celebrated later than in the West. This happens because Easter dates are determined by different calendars. When the Catholic and Orthodox churches separated in the 11th century, they both calculated the date of Easter in the same way. However, the Catholic church adopted the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century, and the Orthodox church continued to use the old Julian calendar. Because the two calendars had a difference of 13 days by the 21st century, and because both churches use March 21 for the date of the vernal equinox instead of the observed equinox, the date of Easter is different in both churches.Preceding Easter is a 40 days long Lenten fast during which no meat and dairy products, fish, eggs, alcohol are allowed.  The fasting begins with Maslenitsa or Pancake week which is celebrated during the last week before the Great Lent. Though meat is already forbidden, Maslenitsa represents the last chance to partake of dairy products (russian pancakes, blini) and those social activities that are not appropriate during the more prayerful and introspective Lenten season. Holy week, beginning with Palm Sunday is a busy time in Russian families, when houses are cleaned and Easter food is prepared. On Holy Thursday, Russians paint Easter eggs using their traditional method of boiling them in onion peels or other natural dyes. Painted eggs are a universal symbol of Easter, but in Russia they take on even greater significance.

On Holy Saturday, a strict day fasting in which no food at all is allowed, families are nonetheless busy preparing for the Easter feast. The feast, served to break the fast after the midnight mass, includes the Paskha cake and Easter eggs which are blessed by the priest on Holy Saturday.Sunrise services in Russia are not common on Easter morning, instead Orthodox churches hold a midnight mass, with a procession around the church.  When the clock strikes 12, church bells announce the resurrection of Christ.

Here is a medley of Russian dishes and recipes I hope everyone has a blessed, safe and Happy Easter!♥ 

Russian Piroshki ♥ 

Russian Vinegret (Beet Salad) 

Russian Easter Ham "Buzhenina"

Russian Easter "Pascha" Dessert

Russian Easter "Kulich" Dessert 

Russian Easter Eggs 

And here is a little flashback me as a child at Easter! ♥

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Russian Easter Eggs ♥

 It's almost Easter, here is a traditional dying russian style of easter eggs using onion peels!. On Holy Thursday, Russians paint Easter eggs using their traditional method of boiling them in onion peels or other natural dyes. Painted eggs are a universal symbol of Easter, but in Russia they take on even greater significance.♥

Ingredients ♥

-The dry outer peels from about 10 yellow onions
- a dozen white eggs.

Instructions ♥
1. Place eggs in a bowl with warm water. Eggs are more likely to crack if they are placed in boiling water when they’re cold.
2. Fill a small saucepan about 1/3 with water (or enough to cover the eggs). Add onion peel and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes until onion peels release their color.
3. Remove eggs from warm water and place them in the pot, making sure they are fully submerged in water. Add more boiling water if needed. Boil 7 minutes, turning the eggs occasionally.
4. Remove eggs to a bowl of cold water. Once they are cooled, dry with paper towels and Tada!! You can also rub some oil on the shell to give them a nice shine. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sargento Italian Pressed Sandwich Recipe ♥

Happy Wednesday! This week I was pleased to be approached by Influenster to review Sargento Ultra Thin Slices Cheese.
 I was happy to recieve my product box from them. It came with a supercute striped lunch bag, a free coupon for a package of slices, and yet another $1 off coupon for more slices! So I decided to make a recipe with the slices; Italian pressed sandwiches. These are perfect to take along to work parties, luncheons, road trips or picnics! ♥

Ingredients ♥

1 ciabatta loaf
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
1/2 pound sliced Italian cold cuts (salami, pepperoni, sopressata, mortadella, capocolla, prosciutto, etc.)
1/2 pound sliced Sargento Ultra Thin Provolone Cheese
1 cup fresh spinach, arugula or basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional toppings:
Finely chopped olives (black or green)
Roasted red peppers
Sun dried tomatoes

Roasted garlic

Directions ♥
Slice ciabatta loaf in half horizontally.
Spread desired amount of pesto over the bottom half of the bread. Don't over-saturate the bread.
Layer the Italian meats over the pesto. Top with the sliced cheese.
Layer the spinach or other greens over the cheese.
Optional toppings can be added to either the top or the bottom of the sandwich.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place the top half of the loaf over the sandwich fillings.
Wrap the sandwich thoroughly with plastic wrap. Place a heavy cutting board or other flat object on top of sandwich and weight it down with a 2- to 4-lb. weight (such as a cast iron skillet or six-pack of soda).
Let the sandwich sit for at least 6 hours, but preferably over night.

Unwrap, cut into 8 pieces and serve.enjoy! ♥

( For take along just wrap in brown paper and I like to tie with a bit of string! )

Brought to you by European Cutie, Influenster, and Sargento!  ♥

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Funday DIY Bloody Mary Bar ♥

 Happy Sunday Funday!!!!Here is my recipe for a great bloody mary bar you can do at home, who said Sunday Funday's can't be at the house? Here is what you need to set up your own little diy bloody mary bar! ♥

Here are some essentials and suggestions for setting up a build-it-yourself Bloody Mary Bar. Give your guests a glass of ice and let them tinker around to create their favorite version:

Liquor: Put out a selection of flavored and regular vodkas. Although good vodka is the basis for most Bloodies, you may want to offer your crowd other options, like gin or tequila.

Mixers: I prefer to stock straight-up tomato juice, but there are a lot of boutique-style mixers on the market that are really tasty. Choose one with quality (real) ingredients for the best flavor.

Garnishes and Add-Ins: Now comes the fun part! Provide your guests with an assortment of delicious nibbles and flavor extras for creating their ultimate party-in-a-glass.

Lemon and lime wedges or coins
Celery stalks
Olives, stuffed and pitted options
Pickle spears or gherkins
Celery salt, Old Bay seasoning or sea salt for those who want a flavored rim
Spices, like cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder and black pepper
Worcestershire sauce
Steak sauce
Hot sauce
Beef jerky
Boiled shrimp

Here is my recipe for the ultimate diy sunday funday bloody mary!

Ingredients ♥

1 1/2 – 2 oz (about a shot) of vodka ( My fave Absolut Vodka) 
Pepper (little more than a dash, but if your mix is pepper-heavy you may not need it)
Pinch of celery salt
1/4 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning 
Splash of olive juice
Dash of Tabasco
Dash of bitters (celery bitters if you have it)
Splash of Worcester Sauce
1/8 tsp Horseradish (or more if you’re hooked on it like we are)
Blood Mary mix or wing it I love V-8 juice
Olives for garnish (bonus points if they are stuffed with garlic)
Lime and lemon wedge to squeeze
Celery or pickled green beans (so good) for garnish
 Lemon or lime wedge for garnish and dilly pickles!

Pickled onions and bread and butter pickles for garnish

Directions ♥
Throw everything through the horseradish in a shaker with ice, and fill up the rest with the Bloody Mary mix. Give it a good shake and pour into a tall or short glass rimmed with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon or lime wedge,shrimp, beef jerky..  bread and butter pickle pickled onion, and dilly beans.. the possibilites with garnishments are endless!!!!

enjoy! ♥ 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Skinny Carrot Cake Smoothie ♥

Happy Saturday! Here is a super healthy smoothie recipe with an Easter twist! A tasty carrot cake smoothie you won't feel guilty about having! ( Look at the lady carrot I found below :)  enjoy! ♥  

Ingredients ♥ 

Makes 2 large smoothies

1 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup rolled oats (optional)
3 carrots, cut into chunks (or see options above)
1 large banana
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup figs
pinch nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup, to taste 
ice (you don’t need ice if you have a frozen banana and/or frozen almond milk)

Directions ♥ 
Put everything except the ice into the blender.  Blend until smooth (you’ll want to blend longer than usual to get rid of any graininess from the carrot).  Add the ice and blend again until smooth.enjoy!♥ 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Shrimp on the Barbie ♥

Happy Friday! It's a beautiful Friday, so why not bust out the grill and have some shrimp on the barbie! Here is my recipe! ♥ 

Ingredients ♥ 

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (parsley, thyme and cilantro)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon minced shallot
salt and pepper, freshly ground
1 1/2 pounds large to x-large-shrimp, peeled with tails in tact, and deveined
Lemon slices


Directions ♥

Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in shrimp. Marinate at room temperature 1 hour or in the refrigerator 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Prepare barbecue with medium hot coals. Thread shrimp on narrow skewers. Grill until just opaque, about 2 minutes per side.  Arrange skewers on platter. Garnish with lemon and serve.enjoy! ♥ 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Boozy White Zin Popsicles and Younger Looking Skin ♥

Happy Thirsty Thursday everyone! Today I am bringing you a thirsty thursday recipe and an exclusive offer for 15% off the regular price of an awesome product. I have teamed up with from Eu Natural. Eu Natural provides unbeatable value with premium health supplements, vitamins, and herbal solutions. 

Look at these boozy white zin popsicles! stay tuned...

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And the 15% off discount code is EUN15OFF. It's valid only on Amazon and your you can apply the code during check out.

And now for that thirsty thursday recipe, did you know that drinking  wine helps your skin?

According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann,( details magazine) red wine, also blush wine such as zinfandel contains skin-friendly grape-seed extract and resveratrol, two powerful antioxidants.The mechanism is the antioxidants in red and blush wine. Antioxidants sop up damaging free radicals that play a role in aging and age-related diseases. There is a much higher concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols, including resveratrol, in wine compared to grape juice. In wine, the skin and seeds are part of the fermenting process, but both are removed when making grape juice.Wine is part of the Mediterranean diet, which is also rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, seafood, yogurt, and olive oil. This diet is more of a lifestyle that includes drinking wine with dinner. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet is associated with longer, healthier lives.Who knew?
  Here is a cute idea for boozy white zin pops! 

Ingredients ♥ 

½ seedless baby watermelon, rind removed and fruit cut into ½-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint
1 cup white zinfandel 
2 tablespoons agave syrup

Directions ♥ 
1. Purée the cubed watermelon in a food processor or blender until smooth, 10 to 15 seconds. Strain through a sieve set over a medium bowl. Transfer the remaining watermelon purée to a large liquid measuring cup and pick out any seeds.

2. To a small bowl, add 1 cup of the strained watermelon juice (save the rest for another use) and the mint. Set aside for 10 minutes to steep, then strain through a sieve into the watermelon purée. Discard the strained mint.

3. Stir in the wine and  agave syrup.  Divide the mixture among the 10 holes of a 10-pop mold and freeze until solid,( I used dixie cups super easy!)  at least 4 hours. Briefly run the bottom of the mold under warm water before pulling each pop out.voila! ♥ 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Grandma Katrina's Deviled Eggs ♥

Easter is coming up and here is my recipe for my Grandma Katrina's deviled eggs, she used to make them every time my Uncle came to visit from Seattle. I use my favorite mayonaise Hellman's.  Here is the recipe enjoy! ♥

Ingredients ♥

1 dozen large eggs
2 tbsp. sweet pickle relish
2 & 1/2 tbsp. Hellman's light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Paprika for garnish

Directions ♥

Place eggs in a large sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and place under running cold water for a few minutes.
The best way to peel the eggs is to roll them on the side of the sink, lightly breaking the shell, and then peeling them under the running water.Slice the eggs in half, lengthwise, and remove the yolks to a mixing bowl. Smash the yolks, then add relish, mayo, salt, and pepper. Use a fork to thoroughly smash and blend the mixture. You can use a mixer for this step, but I just like to do it the hard way.
Fill egg halves with mixture. You can spoon it in, or use a plastic sandwich bag. Just fill the bag, snip the corner, and squeeze filling into eggs.( I remember my mother's were perfect she used a pastry bag and tip)  It is easy and gives a nice finished look. Sprinkle with paprika, and chill in fridge and then serve and watch these little suckers disappear, I recommend make a double quantity for parties! enjoy! ♥

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lemon Water Cleanse ♥

  So I have been having some springtime sniffles the past couple of days.  I thought I would make myself a cleanse. Here is my recipe for lemon water cleanse.
   One of the little known benefits of lemon juice is its anti-aging properties. The acid from the lemon juice contain concentrated levels of antioxidants, which help flush out toxins and free radicals from the body. The process of detoxing allows proper cell regeneration, which then manifests by way of glowing and younger looking skin. 
  Drinking fresh lemon juice with water aids in keeping the immune system alert and strong against malaldies such as common colds and the flu. Lemon juice simply brings countless health benefits, such as lowered cholesterol levels, normalized blood pressure, reduced blood sugar level, and improved blood flow. Drinking a glass of water mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice provides a number of benefits for the body, so go ahead..drink up! ♥

Ingredients ♥

2 quarts water
Juice of one lemon
2 lemons, thinly sliced

Directions ♥

Combine all ingredients and and place in fridge for a bit to allow flavors to infuse. Once pitcher is chilled, serve and enjoy! ♥

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Springtime Asparagus Tart ♥

So why not try a healthy easy dinner tonight? Here is my recipe for a asparagus and gruyere cheese tart, perfect for spring! ♥

Ingredients ♥

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions ♥

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.enjoy! ♥