This week we are finishing our study of Russia. Many years ago I got to spend the summer in Moscow. It was a wonderful experience. Especially now that I am Orthodox in a parish with Russian leanings, those pictures, places, and experiences mean so much more now. The children have loved looking through my pictures and hearing about the markets, parks, churches, and museums. I got to teach English while I was there and Snuggle Bunny is partly named for one of my students.
We could have gone two ways with the craft this week. We could have painted our own stackable matryoska dolls, but I wasn’t up to putting out the money for that quite yet. Maybe when everyone is older we will invest in this book and give it a try. Until then, my souvenir set will be stacked again and again. Snuggle Bunny has these measuring cups and the matching spoons too. They make baking so much more fun! Then there is The Littlest Matryoshka that is well worth reading if your local library has it available.
We decided to make Faberge eggs instead. We just cut ours out of construction paper free hand, but I’m thinking a little more structure might be good for the future. Either blown out eggs or wooden eggs might give a better outcome. Can you tell that Buster’s is supposed to be the Titanic in sequins?
Russian Language – Snuggle Bunny asked to study Russian earlier this year so we have been learning a letter a week. She will know the whole alphabet by Thanksgiving! Here are our favorite YouTube Channels for learning: Cyrillic Alphabet & Numbers.
Church Slavonic – Some of the traditional music of our church. Though we hear a little of it woven into the service every week, this song has been putting Little Man to sleep regularly since he was two months old. Somewhere I have a video of him calming to this song and then singing along in little baby coos.
For our Russian food, I debated between borscht and beef stroganoff , but decided that this week I will make borscht and next week I will try a dairy free stroganoff. I learned how to make both meals while I was in Russia, so they hold a special place in my heart. I made the borscht in the crock pot for lunch at church on Sunday, so the kids didn’t get to help. I’m thinking we may try Kasha so they can help. We love porridge for breakfast, and modifying some of these recipes will be very easy.
1 cup onions—finely chopped
2 cloves garlic—peeled and chopped
1 cup celery — thinly sliced
2 cups beets—coarsely grated
1 cup carrots—peeled and grated
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 quarts beef or chicken stock (or half water half stock)
1 pound potatoes—cubed
1 pound cabbage—coarsely shredded
1 pound stew meat
2 tablespoons dill
3 bay leaves
I had beef soup bones with plenty of meat, so I trimmed them, saved the meat in the refrigerator, and tossed them in the slow cooker on low over night with two quarts of water and a dash of salt. If you are using broth that has already been made, you can skip this step. I also prepped all the vegetables the night before to streamline the morning.
Early the morning: In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and celery stirring frequently until they are soft and lightly colored. Add the stew meat and brown for about 5 minutes.
Skim out the broth and discard the bones. Add the bay leaves, salt, sugar, vinegar, and browned meat an vegetables.
When I arrived at church (My lid doesn’t lock down so I waited so the borscht would stay in the pot for the drive): Stir in the cabbage and potatoes and turn the crock pot to high. Pray that the potatoes cook through in time for lunch.
Right after Communion (Since I was already out with a two year old): Fish out the bay leaves. Stir the beets, carrots, and dill into the soup and Cover until coffee hour.