Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Borscht. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Borscht. Sort by date Show all posts

Feb 8, 2010

A Family Favorite: Borscht

When I mentioned borscht in a recent post, several of you emailed, asking for the recipe.

I was introduced to this yummy stew shortly after I became engaged to my hubby. His family has a wealth of traditions, some of them (like borscht) stemming from my dad-in-law's Russian ancestry. My in-laws serve borscht every Christmas Eve but I make it all year round. Typically, I double my batch because left overs don't last long!

You'll Need:
2 pieces of bacon
all purpose flour
pepper
1/2 lb. beef stew meat (or leftover roast beef meat)
1 (15 oz.) can of beet slices*
1/3 to 1/2 a medium cabbage, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
8 cups beef stock or broth
1 bay leaf
sour cream

Large pot

How to Do It:
1. Fry the bacon in a large pot and place on paper towels to drain.

2. Pour a little flour in a shallow bowl and season with pepper. Dredge the meat in the mixture, covering every side with flour.

3. Saute the beef in the bacon drippings until it's no longer pink.

4. Add the vegetables. Add the broth, pepper to taste, and a bay leaf. Simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Add beets (including juice) and cook for another 10 minutes. (If you prefer the beets less strongly flavored, add them when you add the rest of the veggies. However, the borscht won't have it's traditional reddish look with this method.)

6. Serve with dollops of sour cream on top.

*If desired, you can use fresh beets; just slice them thinly soak them in a bowl of vinegar before you begin cooking.


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Mar 20, 2017

The Best - and Cheapest! - Produce to Buy in Spring

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When I tell people about my success with the keto diet - how I reversed my diabetes, normalized my cholesterol, and have lost oodles of weight - the first thing I hear is something congratulatory. The second thing I hear is that they are shocked I can loose weight and get healthy on a high fat diet. And the third thing I hear is how expensive my grocery bill must be. I will no doubt address #2 sometime soon, but today I want to address #3, to which my normal response is: "Au contraire!"

My grocery budget has not gone up since going keto (or even since going whole foods, which is what I did for years before being diagnosed with diabetes). Good, healthy food does not have to be more expensive!

Sure, it helps that a keto diet is high in good fats. Fats, among other things, are filling, so I eat less now than I used to. But I'm also a sales watcher, a price book keeper...and I shop for produce seasonally.

There are a lot of good reasons to buy in-season fruits and vegetables: Better nutrition (some studies show that growing produce out of season reduces their nutritional value); energy saving (out of season produce is usually flown or trucked into your area from a warmer clime); and, yes, saving money (in season produce is less expensive than fresh produce that's out of season).

The problem is, Americans are so used to seeing all their fruit and veggie favorites in the grocery store all year long, most don't know which ones are naturally in season at any given time of the year.

So let me help you out.

Produce that's in Season in Spring
(March, April, May)

Throughout this post, I offer recipes to try with each vegetable or fruit. If a recipe is mentioned, but there's no link to the recipe, you'll find it in my cookbook A Vegetable for Every Season (available in both paperback and ebook format). It's only $2.99 for devices, folks!

http://amzn.to/2nAHakd

Carrots
Carrots are a veggie that take months to grow from seed to store, and the cool months are when they are usually pulled from the ground. They are high versatile - a good snack or salad fixing when raw, sweet and wonderful when roasted, and easy to toss into a savory pie, soup, or stew. And - happy dance! - they are kid-friendly.

Some of my family's favorite carrot recipes:
Fermented Pickled Carrots
Carrot Fries
Carrot Oatmeal Cookies
Carrot Chips
Glazed Carrots (pictured)


Radishes
Don't skip past this one because you hate those peppery red balls. First of all, there's more than one kind of radish, and they aren't all strongly flavored. Secondly, people are doing some creative things with radishes - including using them as a low carb potato substitute! (I haven't tried that yet myself, but here's a link.)

Some of my family's favorite radish recipes:
Radish Chips
Pickled Radishes (pictured)

Peas
These family-friendly veggies are at their sweetest and best at this time of year.
Some of my family's favorite pea recipes:
Easy Garden Snap Peas
Roasted Peas
Green Peas, Mint, and Tomatoes





Beets

As a cool season crop, beets will be out of their prime soon! Grab 'em while you can!
Some of my family's favorite beet recipes:
Easy Refrigerated Pickled Beets
Russian Borscht with Beets
Beet Cake (pictured)

Asparagus
Spring is the time to eat asparagus. The later in the year it gets, the thicker and more woody asparagus gets. (It may seem counter-intuitive, but thinner asparagus is more tender.) We eat it often roasted, but it's also wonderful a myriad of ways.

Some of my family's favorite asparagus recipes:
Cheesy Baked Asparagus
Asparagus Chicken Stir Fry (pictured)
Smokey Grilled Asparagus

Cabbage
There's a reason cabbage is connected to St. Patrick's Day; it's cheap at this time of year! It also goes a long way at the table, and lasts a long time in the fridge.
Some of my family's favorite cabbage recipes:
Bubble and Squeak (pictured)
Small Batch Fermented Sauerkraut 
Borscht (Russian cabbage stew)Braised Red Cabbage

Greens
All types of greens, including lettuce, collards, kale, beet greens, radish greens, chard...They are highly versatile. Eat baby greens fresh in salads, or stir them into stir fries, casseroles, and egg dishes, or saute them on the stove top.
Some of my family's favorite greens recipes:
Sauteed Greens (works with any type; pictured)
Kale and Roasted Garbanzo Salad


Broccoli
If you love it, now's a great time to eat it. At the grocery store, be picky and choose only broccoli with tightly packed florets and beautiful color.
Some of my family's favorite broccoli recipes:
Chicken and Broccoli and Stuffing
Parmesan Roasted Broccoli (pictured)
Broccoli Tots


Cauliflower
The great cauliflower shortage seems to be over, and prices for this versatile veggie are inexpensive again. Eat it, well, like cauliflower, or use it to mimic pizza dough, garlic bread, rice...
Some of my family's favorite cauliflower recipes:
Cauliflower Chowder (pictured)
Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Cheddar Pasta Salad
Mashed CauliflowerCauliflower Tots
Healthier Cauliflower Alfredo
Better-Than-Twice-Baked-Potato Cauliflower






Avocado
Here's a fruit that is an excellent source of good-for-you fats. My kids love to eat it plain; I just cut it up into chunks for them.
Some recipes I want to try:
Avocado Greek Salad
Creamy Avocado Pesto


Brussels Sprouts
A lot of people think they hate Brussels sprouts. I think they are nuts :)  But, truly, if you hate them, try eating them fresh from the garden. Store bought Brussels sprouts, by comparison, are bitter. Our favorite ways to eat Brussels sprouts are steamed, roasted in the oven, or cut in half and cooked in a skillet.
Some of my family's favorite Brussels sprouts recipes:
Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Parmesan Sauce
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (pictured)

Leeks
If you've never cooked with leeks, don't be intimidated. They are basically a weird looking onion, and can be used just like one. They do, however, have a more mild flavor than the spherical onions you're probably used to.
Some of my family's favorite leek recipes:
Cock-a-Leekie Soup (a Scottish Chicken and Leek soup)
Potato Leek Soup

Mushrooms
Mushrooms sprout up when the weather is wet, so spring is their last hurrah.
One of my family's favorite mushroom recipes:
Roasted Lobster Mushrooms (pictured)

A recipe I want to try:
Creamy Garlic Parmesan Mushrooms

Parsnips
They may look like anemic carrots, but parsnips are better, in my opinion! They have a unique flavor that is excellent roasted or added to stews.
Some of my family's favorite parsnip recipes:
Parsnip Fries (pictured)
Parsnip Cupcakes

Jan 30, 2010

Dollar Stretching Saturday: Meal Planning

I'm in awe of people who can go to the grocery store without planning meals ahead of time and end up with enough meals to get them through a week or two. I have no idea how they do that! But whether you're able to not plan and still have enough home cooked meals or whether you end up having to order pizza or hamburgers a few times a week, learning to menu plan is a huge money (and sanity!) saver.

I know some of you think you can't possibly plan every meal before you shop. But if I can, you can. It's not hard if you have a simple game plan. And, trust me, you'll enjoy the savings in your grocery bill - and the way you become that much better of a steward of the money God gave you. Here's how I do it:

A day or two before I know I'll go grocery shopping (usually around my husband's pay day), I sit down with my cookbook. I rely mostly on a binder full of recipes I've used for years, but I try to incorporate one or two new recipes every few weeks. I also have on hand a pen and a piece of paper.


On the far right hand side of the paper, I write numbers - one for each day I need a dinner. So if I'm buying for two weeks, I write the numbers 1 through 14 vertically in the right hand corner. Then I begin writing the names of recipes behind those numbers, always trying to share ingredients, if possible. (More on that in a moment.)

As I write down the meal names in the right hand corner, I write down the ingredients I need to buy on the left hand side of the paper.

When I'm done planning dinners, I think about the staple foods we eat for breakfast and lunch. They are pretty simple at our house (eggs, sausage, ingredients for bread making, etc.), but if you like something more complicated, you can make a list for breakfast and lunch, just as you did for dinner.

When I'm done, my paper is organized like this:








Ingredients

beef stew meat
onions (3)
celery
cabbage
carrots
beets
Meals

1. Borscht
2. Shepherd's Pie
Now here's a vital step: When I'm done, I tear off the right hand corner and post it on my refrigerator. I now have a list of meals I have ingredients for and I don't have to try to remember what I had planned - which usually results in forgetting and letting fresh ingredients rot in the fridge.

Then I take my list of ingredients to the grocery store and cross off items as I put them in my cart.
This method saves money because you'll only buy what you need. No more running to the store (and using up fuel) to buy a few items. No more ordering dinner in.

Once you've tried this a few times, you can save yourself even more money by trying to plan meals so ingredients are shared. This way nothing goes to waste, and you actually end up buying less food.

For example, on day one, I might make borscht (a Russian stew), which includes half a head of cabbage, plus beef stew meat. So for another evening, I'll choose a meal that uses up that second head of cabbage, and on another night, a meal that also uses beef stew meat (because it's cheaper to buy a larger package).

You might notice I didn't mention looking at your grocery store's sales flier while making your meal plan. personally, I'm more apt to plan without knowing the sales, but if I spot something at a great price, I'll pick it up and store it for another time. I recommend that if you're not used to meal planning, you try shopping this way, too. Once you're a confident meal planner, then consider adding the sales flyer into the mix. For now, keep it as simple as possible.

Give it a try!

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Feb 9, 2017

Choosing Seeds for My New Garden

Honestly, I'm trying not to get stressed about my garden - or lack thereof. Because as of this moment, the vegetable garden doesn't exist. We still need to remove a few trees around the yard and set up the garden beds. Thankfully, I do have the greenhouse and a few small raised beds (tall square pallets and an old bathtub or two) that the previous owners left behind. Still...my dream garden it ain't. So...I'm reminding myself that getting the garden up and proper is gonna take time.

In the meantime, I've tested my old seeds to see if they are still viable, and have placed my seed orders. There are some "old reliables" coming my way, as well as some fun new varieties to try. Here are a few of the notables that (I hope!) will appear in my 2017 garden.

(Please note: None of the links are affiliate.)


Autumn's Choice butternut squash.
* Autumn's Choice Squash. It's hard to beat a good butternut squash: So tasty, and stores all winter long just sitting on a shelf. This year, I'm trying this new-to-me variety because it's said to have a strong resistance to powdery mildew - always a problem where we live. It's also got a slightly shorter growing season than many other varieties (85-90 days), and has unusual and pretty skin. I bought my seeds at Territorial Seed.

* Morris Heading Collards. Greens are an important crop for me, since we eat them a lot because they're an excellent source of nutrients. My whole family loves collards, which we mostly eat sliced thin and sauteed (usually with garlic and salt, and maybe some chopped bacon). This variety is one I've grown for years. It's reliable, tasty, and slow to bolt (go to seed). It also grows pretty quickly and is an heirloom. I bought my seed this year at Baker Creek Seed.

* Brunswick Cabbage. I've grown other varieties of cabbage, but I always come back to Brunswick cabbages because they are large and relatively fast-growing (90 days). This variety is also especially cold hearty and stores well. I buy my seed at Baker Creek.

Bull's Blood beet.
* Bull's Blood Beet. This is my favorite beet to grow because the roots are tasty - and so are the tops. I love the large red leaves for sauteing, and my family loves the roots for borscht and pickling. This year, I bought my seeds at Territorial.

* Catskill Brussels Sprout. Homegrown Brussels spouts are far superior to bitter store bought ones! And I keep coming back to this variety because the plants grow so large. (A friend once said of their size, "Those aren't any ordinary Brussels sprouts. Those are old growth Brussels sprouts!") I get mine at Baker Creek, even though they claim this is a dwarf variety.

* Amazing Cauliflower. I've never had much success growing cauliflower, but since we eat a lot of it, and since our new homestead is  more friendly to this cool season crop than anywhere else I've lived, I'm hopeful. Supposedly, this variety matures in 75 days and gives good flavor. I bought my seeds at Territorial Seed.

* Hollow Crown Parsnip. This is the best parsnip I've ever grown. It's sweet after a good frost, and stores well in the soil. (P.S. The crown of the parsnip isn't actually hollow.) You can buy this seed at Baker Creek.


* BeaverLodge Slicer Tomato and Silvery Fir Tree Tomato. To be honest, I've never had a lot of luck growing tomatoes from seed. This is because our growing season isn't long and warm enough to grow them from seed without some artificial lights (for the seedlings) - and I have yet to acquire those lights. But while our growing season is technically rather long here, our weather is also generally cool, which makes tomato-growing a challenge, even with the unheated greenhouse. So I'm really striving to find short-season tomatoes that don't mind a little cooler temps. I chose Beaverlodge because it matures in about 55 days, and is supposed to be abundant. I bought my seed at Territorial. Silvery Fir matures in about 58 days, and is open pollinated. You can also buy this seed at Territorial, too.

Double Purple Orach.
* Double Purple Orach. At our old homestead, I always had a tough time growing spinach; the plants grew, just not abundantly. I should have an easier time with spinach at our new homestead, but it's always nice to have orach on hand, too, because it's less fussy and tends not to bolt (go to seed) as quickly as spinach. The flavor is similar. I've never tried this variety before, but I like the idea of getting some purples into my greens, because the nutrients are slightly different. I got my seed at Territorial.

* Double Yield Cucumber. This is a new variety for me, but promises to not only produce abundantly, but to provide good cucumbers for both pickling and eating fresh. I bought my seed at Territorial.

* Fortex Bea. Beans are among the easiest things to grow, and I've always been pleased with my choices, including Dragon Tongue and Golden Gate. But this year, I'm trying this new-to-me variety, which is supposed to be tall and vigorous, with large bean pods. I bought my seeds at Territorial.

Wild Garden Kale.
* Miner's Lettuce. Miner's lettuce is supposed to grow wild in my general area...but I've never been able to find any. It's high in vitamin C and extremely cold tolerant; it will grow year round in my area. I got my seed at Territorial.

* Wild Garden Kale. We eat a ton of kale, and this mix from Siberia is a real winner in my garden, year after year. There are some nice variations in color (light green, purple, red, and blue-green) and leaf shape - and while all kale is cold tolerant, this mix is especially so. I buy the seed at Territorial Seed.