Today’s post is about a traditional borscht recipe.
What do you associate Christmas with? Turkey? Juicy baked ham? Casseroles? Christmas tree?
Well, I relate Christmas to a steaming bowl of traditional borscht and hand-made dumplings. That’s because even upon emigrating to the USA, we still cook this scrumptious dish during the holiday season. We couldn’t imagine Christmas and New Year’s Eve without this European delight.
Some might think this soup is difficult to make. But that’s only an illusion. And that’s because beets can be quite intimidating when you look at them in the supermarket’s produce section. Nevertheless, all you need is some patience, and the possibilities of creating amazing dishes with beets are endless.
Once you wash the beets thoroughly and chop off the stems – half of the intimidation is gone. The second half is coming up with a good recipe.
As such, I’m presenting my old-time favorite traditional borscht recipe, which I use every year to create the most flavorful wonderful traditional borscht.
4 liters (1 gallon) of water
3-4 kg (approx 7 lbs) red beets
2 pears or apples
1 celery root
2 medium-size onions
8 dried prunes or apricots or dates (prunes are the best)
1-2 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)
Secret ingredient: few dried mushrooms
1. Peel the carrot, parsley, and celery and cut them in half.
2. Wash the beets and cut them into chunks.
3. Put all vegetables, beets, onions, herbs and leaves, apples and plums or dates, and the secret ingredient into a large pot. I add enough water (preferably filtered water) to cover all the vegetables so that the water comes above three fingers. I add a little salt, and I let it simmer for about 45-60 minutes.
4. Next, I take out the vegetables, and I add balsamic vinegar to the pot (make sure you add this after the broth stops boiling). I add a little bit, then taste, then add more according to my desire.
5. I then add crushed garlic cloves and sugar. I add all spices bit by bit and taste the broth until it’s slightly sweet and tangy. I cover and let the borscht rest for 10 minutes so that all the flavors combine. Borscht tastes best the next day and can be frozen ahead.
*Warning: When the borscht is cooking, the kitchen smells divine!
Note: this soup unlike the Russian Borscht, is NOT served with sour cream.
This red beet borscht can be served with homemade dumplings with mushroom filling, aka “uszka pierogi’ (ear dumplings). Or simply served on its own in your favorite ceramic cup. In Poland, when the borscht is served without dumplings, it is consumed out of teacups along with puff pastry filled with wild mushroom filling. On the other hand, large soup bowls are provided if small dumplings are present. Traditionally, the soup is made only once per year for Christmas Eve but we eat the borscht all the way until New New Year’s Eve.
This recipe is adapted from Olga Smile.
Do you like being organized?
Not just in real estate but in any self-run entrepreneurial business, one needs tools that will assist in sustaining a manageable workflow while elevating performance — resources that are efficient and leverage productivity, as well as time.
You should know I’m a “techie” person, so I use lots of apps and online resources. I, for example, don’t use a paper calendar. I do most of my planning electronically. This way, when I am on the go, I have my schedule with me and know what’s going on.
Also, I love Apple products, and I use MacBook, Apple iPad Pro, and iPhone interchangeably. On my phone and iPad, I have several apps that keep me organized and make my life easier.
Here are the top five apps and resources that I use in my business to keep myself organized. The apps pertain to project management, creative content, business development, scheduling, and grammar.
Here is the list:
Todoist is a highly underestimated tool. It’s a to-do list in an app and desktop app. It’s a project management tool, tasks list, and lots more. I discovered it while searching for some useful apps on apple.com and purchased a yearly subscription. I love how it integrates with my online calendar and sends all sorts of reminders, thus keeping me super organized.
Spark. For all my creative work, social media posts, pages, slides/videos, flyers, I use Spark Adobe. Moreover, I own the entire suite of Adobe products, and I love them. Adobe keeps evolving and updating their tools. I find them to be very useful.
Haystack is for my business card, as well as all the ones I receive from my contacts. I can keep all of them in the Haystack app on my phone. It’s easy to share my business card with anyone I meet instantly. As well as scan a card I receive. Never fumble through a bunch of business cards again.
Acuity. For scheduling with others and keeping track of my calendar, I use Acuity. A powerful tool that has too many benefits to list. Time is needed to learn all the tools. Acuity has to offer, but in the long run, it’s worth embracing this smart apparatus.
Grammarly is probably one of my best investments so far. A tool that instinctively guides me in a style of writing that I wish to produce. Whether it’s a formal letter, engaging topic, or a story, I use Grammarly to check my blog posts, emails, notes, and all of my creative content. It does an excellent job of things a human editor would do. Furthermore, it’s an indispensable mechanism to exhibit and learn proper writing.
In conclusion, these are not all of the tools I use. But the top five provide a general overview for anyone whose business, blogging world, or the creative industry.
Best of all, practically anybody can use these tools.
What resources do you use?
Have a fantastic rest of the week!
Check out my video on Business Goal Setting – Motivation
Originally published November 2020. Reposting due to high demand.
Today, I share my favorite secrets on How To Make Amazing Thanksgiving Turkey – My Tips And Tricks.
You must know, I WILL be making a turkey this year. It won’t be an elaborate dinner, but still, I like to prepare.
As such, I am already researching some ideas on how to make everything tasty and unique.
Photo by Vika Fleisher
From my experience, I can share that it’s best to make, as much as possible, ahead. It saves me time and allows me to still enjoy the holiday evening with my family.
Since I’ve moved to the south, I heard that North Carolina people fry their turkeys outside their homes in a particular fryer. I haven’t eaten such a fabulous invention yet, but I hope, one day, I will. I can only imagine the crispy skin on the outside!
This year, I am debating on making mushroom gravy for my turkey. I’ve found a wonderful recipe on my favorite culinary site. When you get to the link, notice the wonderful reviews by people who’ve already made the gravy, as well as the turkey using this unique recipe.
Photo by Libby Penner
Also, I will be preparing my cranberry sauce, side pumpkin dish, and mashed rutabaga with potatoes. Side dishes that are simple, traditional but add enough color not to be boring. I can make some of it ahead and won’t slave over the oven the entire day!
Photo by Annie Spratt
Also, on Thanksgiving, we always have to have some traditional European twist! Even though this holiday is not celebrated in Europe. I still like to add an element that brings me back to my childhood days.
As such, our holiday table wouldn’t be complete without a European dessert. Therefore, I will be making a traditional Polish cake made with apples, called Szarlotka. Yum! Watch out for a separate post coming up on how to make this delicious cake!
Photo by Hugo Aitken
And, now, without further ado, here are some of my favorite tips and tricks on how to make the juiciest, most flavorful turkey even if you’re not an experienced chef!
Photo by Alison Marras
Photo by Annie Spratt
Feature Photo by Libby Penner
How about you? Are you making turkey this year? What’s your secret tip? Comment below. Don’t be shy! 🙂
Happy cooking, decorating, and eating!
If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of big city life, then it’s time to move. Where should you move to, you ask? Well, I have an excellent place for you right in the Carolinas, and it’s called: Huntersville NC.
Besides being one of the top growing cities in the south, Charlotte, located only 14 miles from Huntersville, is one of the leading USA’s growing, eclectic urban municipalities.
Therefore, living in Huntersville NC allows you to transport yourself to the city center of Charlotte on a whim and check out its trendy vibe while enjoying the nightlife, as well as the vibrant neighborhoods nearby such as Noda, South End, and Camp North End.
Nevertheless, when you’ve had enough of the big city feel, you can return home to the beautiful, tranquil Huntersville NC.
Huntersville’s charm preludes the fact that it is close to Lake Norman, where you can do boating, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities, including jet ski and paddle-boating.
Huntersville’s population currently is close to 60,000 inhabitants. Making it a small city with a big feel. Everything you need is within five minutes drive, including shopping, restaurants, bakeries, farmers markets, and even wine and beer breweries. We also have our small historic downtown, including a children’s museum with a yearly membership.
Scattered throughout Huntersville NC are plenty of greenways, bike paths, and dog parks. In addition, if you are in the mood for some forest bathing or bird watching, take a quick drive to our very own Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. With plenty of hiking trails, picnic areas, outdoor grill spaces, and even rustic, elevated lookouts with a stunning view of The Mountain Island Lake.
Want to check out some fantastic sightseeing? Learn about taxes, and see what a charming small town Huntersville is? Then you must watch my latest video. Click below.
The holiday season is one of the most-traveled periods of the entire year. People drive and fly across the country or around the world to visit friends and loved ones. It’s lovely to have those you care about coming to see, but it can also be very stressful if your home is in disarray. Even though you tell yourselves that people won’t care about what your home looks like, there’s always that fear that they’ll judge you if your house isn’t ready for guests.
You don’t have to worry, though. There are several ways that you can make your home more festive in preparation for holiday visitors. Here are just a few suggestions to help get you started.
Even something as simple as rearranging some of the furniture can have a significant impact on the look of your home when the company arrives. Changing the positioning of couches, chairs, and other large pieces can open rooms up and make them seem more inviting to your visitors. Best of all, you can easily focus the changes around a Christmas tree or other holiday centerpieces to tie things together and create a unified holiday look. Once your guests leave, you can either move the furniture back to its usual spots or leave it where it is to keep the new face going throughout the year.
Another place that you can make a significant impact is cleaning up around the outdoors. Rake and mulch leaves, clean up flower beds, trim back trees and bushes… do whatever needs to be done to get everything looking great before the temperatures drop too low. If possible, you may even want to clean the bricks or siding and clean out your gutters. While you’re up there, you may as well install some hangers for holiday light strings, too!
A seemingly small change that can make a big impression is to change the accent colors on your home by painting the doors and shutters. This option isn’t right for everyone since it’s a permanent change, but for those wanting to update the look of their home, it can make a big difference. While the color you choose is dependent on the color of your home and your personal preference, going with red or green can add a splash of holiday flair that will still look great the rest of the year through.
If your carpets are stained, worn, or otherwise need a refresh, don’t just install a similar rug in their place: Consider going for woodgrain vinyl slats or laminate wood flooring instead. These flooring options add the beauty of a natural wood floor without the frustration, standing up to stains and other issues while requiring significantly less work to maintain. Best of all, a change to a wood-look near the holidays can enhance the charm of your home when your visitors finally arrive.
Consider ditching the tired old holiday decorations that you put up every year and go with a bit of a different look this time around. If you usually go cartoony, consider something classier like white lights and pine accents. If your decorations are typically sparse, do something a bit more over the top this year. It doesn’t matter how you refresh your decorations; just give your visitors something to see that they haven’t seen before. While this is especially effective if combined with other updates to your home, you can still wow your guests just by subverting their expectations of your holiday décor.
Thirsty for more holiday content? Check out our blog post on how to make an amazing turkey!
If you live in the Charlotte, NC area and are searching for things to do this weekend, I have an excellent idea for you!
Why not hop in your car, grab the kids, neighbors, friends, strangers, whatever is your preference, and come on over to my side of town, to the Lake Norman area.
Once you arrive here, you are very close to the magical Latta Nature Preserve. With plenty of things to do, you can indulge in hiking, biking, fishing, swimming in the Mountain Island Lake, and even kayaking if something more advanced strikes your fancy.
Why not bring blankets and picnic fare and enjoy lunch a la fresco close to the water while enjoying Buzzard Rock overlook.
Take the time from your busy life and connect with nature. Leave the cell phones in the car. And listen to the birds and the sound of waves gently crashing the shores.
Revel in the natural beauty of this genuinely unique nature preserve. With lots of fresh air and free oxygen therapy, also known as “forest bathing.”
“Studies have shown that Forest Bathing or forest therapy boosts immune system function and supports the activity of cancer-fighting Natural Killer (NK) cells 2. The body’s levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline, the internally-produced “stress hormones,” can also be controlled with regular forest therapy trips.” 3
No wonder, every time I leave the park, I feel amazing!
Latta Nature Preserve is only 22 minutes away from Charlotte City Center and is truly unique and beautiful. But, want to find out how wonderful it is?
Then watch my YouTube video where I take you on a cinematic, soundtrack-based journey while revealing small, intriguing details I noticed about the forest and the lake. This is from my Fun Things To Do In Charlotte series. You’re going to love the video!