When parenting stinks

Monday, September 22, 2014

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I am part of a community blog for Broomfield, CO, The blog authors write about families, their experiences, relationships and community. My most recent post is about how parenting stinks sometimes. It's a fairly new blog, so I would really appreciate if you headed over there and shared!

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Authentic Moldovan Borsch {Recipe}

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This is one of my favorite meals my mother and grandmother made when I was a child and although I don't consider myself a very good cook (ok...ok...just being modest here), I can say I've mastered the Borsch. It's somewhat of a common eastern European soup, originally from Ukraine, that varies from one country to another (even one family to another), but of course I like the Moldovan one best. I've made this for many a gathering and the recipe has often been requested, and even begged for. You know who you are. Don't say I didn't share.













I think it's a pretty simple recipe, but it can take awhile because of all the vegetable grating and chopping. If you have a food processor with a chopping setting (which I don't...sniff...sniff), it will significantly cut down the amount of prep work involved. All ingredients can be found in your grocery store.

Difficulty: medium
Prep time:  25 min
Cooking time: 40 min


ingredients


Onions
2 (medium)
White or yellow. You can also use leeks, or both. Diced.
Carrots
2 (large)
grated
Bell Peppers
2 (medium)
I like to use red ones and just dice them
Beets
2 (large)
peeled and grated
Cabbage
1 head
shredded
Tomato sauce
2 cans 8oz
it tastes even better if you make your own by peeling and blending tomatoes
Potatoes
3 (large)
cubed
Oil
3 tbsp
I use Sunflower Seed oil in all my cooking
Stew pork
1 pound
you can use chicken too or meatless
Bay Leaves
3
I add them with the meat and remove them before any vegetables are added
Lemon Juice
4 or 5 tbs
don't use lime juice
Water
15 cups
to boil the meat in. Or use half water, half meat or vegetable stock/broth
Salt and pepper to taste 
Sour cream and chopped fresh parsley
 1 tbs each
For garnishing and optional

step by step

Step 1: Wash the meat, remove any unwanted fat and cube in bite size pieces. Fill up a tall pot with water (about 15 cups), place the meat in it, grind black pepper and add a couple of bay leaves. Boil on high to a rolling boil. An important step not to forget is to remove the foam that forms when the meat begins to boil. Turn to a medium heat and cover with a lid.

Step 2: While the meat is boiling: peel your carrots, onions and beets. Grate the carrots and beets. Dice the onions and peppers.

Step 3: Wash, peel and cube potatoes

Step 4: Remove the outer layers of the cabbage. Cut in half and then shred/julienne starting from the middle, as pictured.

Step 5: Saute vegetables. First add the onions, then the carrots and then the peppers.

Once onions are translucent add the beets and let cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and turn down the heat. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Remove from heat.

Step 6: Once the meat is cooked, remove the bay leaves and add the potatoes. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. When almost done, add the cabbage. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Step 7: Add the vegetable mixture, lemon juice and salt to taste. Cook on low for another 10 minutes. (You can go longer if you have the time.)

My husband likes it served with a tsp of sour cream, but I like it as is. In my opinion it tastes best with sour-dough bread. 


My 4 year old is not very adventurous when it comes to food, but she absolutely loves this one. It tastes even better on the second day, as all the ingredients have time to marry together pretty well. 

We even have a joke in Moldova about this:
"Do you like a day old Brosch?"
"Yes"
"Then come over tomorrow!"

Hugs,
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Disney Frozen Birthday Party

Monday, June 2, 2014

Even though it is not winter, it doesn't stop my newly turned 4 year old princess to be in love with the Disney Frozen Movie. Like many kids her age, she is obsessed with this movie, knows the lyrics to all the songs, and is just captivated with everything related to it. I have to say I quite liked the first couple of times I saw it, especially the music and Olaf the snowman.


So, when it was time to plan my daughter's 4th birthday party, it was 'crystal clear' that it would be a Frozen Party. It was a last minute decision, mostly because of a family spending 'freeze' we'd been working on. Sorry...can't resist the 'cold' terminology.  Seeing as how it is almost summer and the movie has been out for a few good months now, it was hard to find anything Frozen related anywhere and even though I found some cups at a party store, I wasn't about to shell out $20 for a set of 12 cups. All of this meant I had to DIY the party, all pretty much a couple of day before the party.

I tried to keep it low key, and looking back at the pictures, it doesn't seem like a lot, but it really was a bunch of work, including staying up till 1AM the night before, mostly to clean up.

For food, we had veggie and fruit trays, pigs in a blanket (which were super popular with the kids), and a couple of the giant Costco pizzas; water and pink lemonade for drinks.

 I set up a dessert table as well. I made a bunch of Elsa crowns using foam paper and had a few extra and so I made a banner to go above the dessert table. I dug out some Christmas decorations as well, but couldn't really get to many that wouldn't require serious storage room changes.


I made cupcakes, marshmallow pops and cake pop using vanilla donut holes.





We had an Olaf cake and it was made by a friend of mine. So freezing cute and oh so yummy.


For activities, we had snowman bowling. Just draw snowman faces on white paper cups and use crumpled paper for the ball. The kids absolutely loved this game and because we had about 16 kids at the party this and the other two activities were enough.
























Next up was Pin the nose on Olaf. My husband drew Olaf on poster paper without a nose. I think he did such a good job. Mine would've been 3 circles, eyes and mouth and his looks just like the real one.
Sorry about the camera picture
We cut up noses from foam paper. A little tip here: use double sided tape (I couldn't find mine and ended up folding regular tape), and then stick them on the shiny side of a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Hand one to each child when it is their turn.


We also made snowmen using marshmallows, frosting to attached all the body parts, pretzels for arms, orange tic tacs for noses, and chocolate frosting for eyes, mouth and buttons.

 Then we did gifts and dessert.


My daughter loved everything and kept pointing all the Frozen things things she noticed.

Because I didn't buy any themed party supplies I found some free online printables to use as dessert toppers, labels and wrappers, here and here. I also made reindeer antlers and Elsa crowns using these patterns. I made one crown and my daughter said it was an evil Elsa crown, so I adjusted the ridges and made them all in triangles. The kids loved them, but for some reason I forgot to take a picture of them.

'Can I just say something crazy?'. If you don't do what I did and plan far enough in advance, this can really be pretty stress free, although I am not familiar with that feeling, because even if I plan in advance, I still end up actually doing everything a day or two before. So, learn from my mistakes and go have yourself a Frozen Party and don't forget 'to stuff some chocolate in your face', which of course is the one thing I did not forget to do.

Hugs,







Pin and share!

linking at these parties
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Zucchini Chicken Rice Pilaf {Gluten Free}

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Zucchini and Chicken Rice Pilaf {Gluten Free}



Difficulty: medium
Prep time:  10 min
Cooking time: 25min


Ingredients


Onions1 (large)you can also use leeks, or both
Carrots1 (large)I actually forgot to add the grated carrots, but I usually do
Oil3 tbspI use Sunflower Seed oil in all my cooking
Rice1 1/2 cupsI used brown rice, but white works too
Rotisserie chickenI made 3 different meals from one roasted chicken. You can also used just cooked chicken breast
Bell Peppers1 (large)

Zucchini
2 (medium)
Fresh cilantro2 tbspthese are for garnishing at the end and it is optional
Feta cheese 1/2 cupfor garnishing 
                        
Salt and pepper to tast
    
step by step

1. Gather your ingredients. Chop your vegetables.








2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat add the oil. Add onions, salt and cook, 
stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent. 


3. Add the peppers and zucchini. Note that I did not peel the zucchini. I find that when 
I peel them, they just turn into mush once cooked. 



4. Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice grains are opaque.



5. Add water or chicken broth enough to cover the mixture. Bring to a boil and 
then add the cooked chicken.



 I transferred into a pot because I couldn't find the lid for my large pan. Cover, reduce
heat to simmer, and cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Turn off heat but let rice sit for 
5 minutes undisturbed. Uncover and fluff with a fork.


Serve garnished with feta cheese and parsley.



I like to make this meal with any variation of vegetables that I have in my fridge. 
It is a quick and simple but still pretty yummy. An added bonus is that it is gluten free.

Do you like zucchini? What do you like to use them for?
Linking to these awesome parties.
Iuliana
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8 Thanksgiving Dinner Must-Haves

Monday, November 18, 2013

As many of you know, I am European and have celebrated Thanksgiving only for a few years since I have moved to the US. Even the ones I did celebrate here, there were always prepared by my mother in law. Last year was the first time we were going to celebrate Thanksgiving by ourselves. However, I had a moldovan friend visiting and we just ended up making moldovan food. This year however, I am resolved to try a real american Thanksgiving feast and to keep myself accountable, we will probably have friends over. I had to google when Thanksgiving is and also what a traditional menu consists of.
So I put together a list of the must-haves, mostly for me, since I have no idea what I am doing. 

Thanksgiving Dinner Must Haves @Hip2Thrift

1. The Turkey!!! 
The star of the show. Lots of recipes out there and I am pretty intimidated by this part. I have the feeling I might end up just buying a ready made one. I don't know...haven't decided yet.


2. The Gravy
Not much to say here - it pulls the meal together, and anything 
with some gravy can taste extra yummy.

3. Sweet Potato Casserole
This is definitely my least favorite, but hey...it's traditional and most people like it.


4. Mashed Potatoes
I didn't grow up with Thanksgiving, but we sure had plenty of mashed potatoes. I like to think of myself as an expert when it comes to mashed potatoes. I may have to post my recipe soon.


5. Green Bean Casserole
I love this casserole and it is so simple to make.
I've made on so many other non holiday related occasions.


6. Rolls
I am still looking for a gluten free recipe for rolls, so hopefully I'll have some on the my Thanksgiving table.


7. Cranberry sauce


8. Pumpkin Pie
I am not a big fan anything pumpkin or pie related (gasp), but I am pretty sure my other guests will enjoy some. I may do some sort of variation of the classic pie...cupcakes anyone?


Do you have any yummy recipes you use for Thanksgiving? Did I miss anything? Share in the comments. 

Not to freak anyone out, but Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, 
and then we can decorate for Christmas!

Hugs and Thank you,
Iuliana
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