Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chi Town

What's a Polish girl to do when she misses her native cuisine? Why, go to the second largest Polish community outside of Warsaw, Poland and get herself some pierogi, of course!
P.S. Note how I spelled "pierogi". There is no "s" at the end. It is because the word "pierogi" already is plural. Now, you learned something new today and you can show how clever you are at your next social gathering.

The first thing I did in the Polish Town is purchasing a real pickle and eating it right in front of the store. And I didn't even get weird looks.
Next we had lunch at the Red Apple Buffet, or Czerwone Jabluszko (I encourage you to try to pronounce those words. And good luck). I took some photos of our plates for you so that next time you visit you will know a bit about Polish cuisine. The mysterious meat in the middle is liver. One of two things in the world proclaimed by Jeff as uneatable.
This was my favorite plate. Clockwise from the left I present a crepe, bigos (cabbage and sausage hunter stew, a typical Christmas dish), sausage hidden behind a corn salad, potato pancake, apple fritter.
Well, OK, this was my favorite plate, too. All of them were, actually. From the left we have pierogi (I am proud of you remembering that there is no "s" at the end. Good job), some meat sauce, meat dumpling, corn salad again, bean salad (Polish people love their salads), and a sauteed spinach dish.
You may wonder why the pierogi look like a shapeless mass. This is what homemade pierogi look like. I bet you only had them frozen from the store and you didn't know that. Look at the things you learn from me!
The Museum of Science and Industry was pretty interesting due to their many displays, anything from the Dr Seuss room to the Smart Home exhibit full of gadgets and other ways to live green and healthy!
We watched the chicks hatch. I didn't know standing around and looking at an egg for 30 minutes could lure so many people in. There was literally no place to squeeze in and pushing away little children was not a good idea as their protective parents were right behind them. Finally, I found a good spot after a little girl fainted from lack of oxygen created by the large crowd. Just kidding, just kidding!
Jeffrey surer enjoyed the Farm Tech display. He wants to be a farmer now.
The Shedd Aquarium was my favorite. I mean, look at the friends I made.
After all the excitement we decided that deep dish pizza would be a wonderful way to replenish all the calories we lost while walking to the Cheesecake Factory every night for their dessert. Here I am pretending I ate the whole dish. In reality I could only eat one piece of this huuuuuge pizza.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Favorite things about Switzerland

The unbelievable green grassThe desserts

The noise the cows make with their cowbells
The farmer's market every day
The nespresso machine in every home
The traditional Swiss apple tart
The cheese trays
The tiny desserts served with fresh figs
The views
The espresso
And pretty much everything else.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Everything pumpkin

I didn't grow up with pumpkins. They are not very popular in Eastern Europe, I think nothing could take place of the ever reigning potato. Pumpkin pies, soups, pumpkin patch and calling your significant other a "punkin' " - those pleasant traditions were not very difficult for me to adapt and I would truly miss them if I ever lived in Europe again!
When looking for easy yet impressive recipes on Pinterest, my new and already favorite website, I had many to pick from, yet I choose recipes that incorporated already pre-made Betty Crocker cake mix, in fact one of them WAS a Betty Crocker recipe. I know, I know... does that count as homemade then? Well, I will argue that we all need some extra help in the kitchen sometimes and as long as it was not purchased in the store, I am very happy with what I got! So here are the 2 tasty pumpkin recipes that you just MUST try!
Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes (from Betty Crocker Website)
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake mix - the recipe posted online asks for yellow cake, you can really choose any flavor, I picked vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Mix all ingredients and bake cupcakes 19-24 minutes at 350.

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
Warm up cream cheese and butter so that it's easy to add and mix in the powdered sugar. It's that easy! You can really make this simple frosting into any flavor you want by adding some flavoring, looking back I wish I added some orange zest, but the cupcakes were delicious regardless.
Now, if you toast some finally chopped pecans with sugar, they could serve as a pretty garnish on your cupcakes!
Pumpkin Layer Dessert
This one is found on Pinterest as well, and it comes from another blogger, so I will let you just go to her blog for the recipe, just click HERE! The recipe is easy and very delicious and I will be making it for Thanksgiving in lieu of a pumpkin pie.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Summer is over and that means I will have to hibernate and wait another 10 months for my faves:

Strawberries from the farmers' market
Feeding Jackson ribs on the deck
Fish fry
Making pickled pike...
... and jams
Flying kites

Monday, September 12, 2011

Give me some chawda

I love all things seafood and being surrounded by the views in beautiful Victoria, BC somehow intensifies the flavors!

If you lack ranch you can always dip the deep fried oysters IN the chowder!After the lunch it is time to walk around this beautiful city.

I've never seen more flowers anywhere else!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

THE best fish n chips

When in Victoria, BC visiting Haultain Fish and Chips is an absolute must. Hands down the best I have ever had! Now, when in Rome do as the Romans do, sooo... make sure you splash the meal with vinegar very well!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nutella. Enough said.

If you haven't tried this hazelnut goodness, you must! It is just gaining it's popularity here in the US, but I have known it's wonderful taste since I was just a kid. It was an all time favorite of ours and I even remember when my brother and I liked it so much that we kept eating it out of the jar with a spoon, (just as we are on the photo) conviniently leaving the inside walls of the jar covered in Nutella so that our parents thought the jar was still full. Imagine their surprise when they opened the "full" jar to make us a snack and there was hardly anything left in there!
The photo above was taken at the Camper Beach, our last camp site on the West Coast Trail. Tired, but full of hope, as we knew that the next day we would be finishing the trail.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Culinary adventures on the trail

Eating in style on the trail is difficult... but possible! Since we had to carry everything we wanted to use on the trail in our packs, the most meals were freeze dried and required adding boiling water. But let me tell you, any warm meal on a cool beach after a long day of hiking is welcome in my belly! The brands we used were Alpine Air and Mary Jane's Farm, which were ordered from this website by my father in law who always thinks of everything!

Hey, guys, leave some of that Chinese-egg-drop-soup-minus-the-egg for us, too!
Jeffrey cooking up cobbler for dessert. It certainly hit the spot!
It actually looks so good!
Aaron volunteered to wash the dishes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The West Coast Trail

How did I get talked into that one? As a runner, I thought perhaps I would be in shape enough to tackle one of the toughest trails in North America, but let me tell you it was no cake walk to crawl through 75km, or 47mi! Let me introduce you to the wonderful (and painful) views of the trail along the so-called Graveyard of the Pacific...

Resting just hours before the hike at our lodge.
Our first campsite with a private cave and a waterfall!
View from our tent in the morning.
Views when hiking.
Getting down on a ladder straight onto a suspension bridge!
Beautiful sunset at another campsite, Tsusiat Falls.
Foggy morning.
Slowly but surely!
Climbing the ladders first thing in the morning, gotta love an energetic morning!Aaron getting across the river in a cable car. My turn next!

That's a big pack!
Along the trail.
Nice sunset again. Perk of camping on the beach every night!
Algae. Done! Camping last night and taking a boat across the river first thing in the morning!