Mom's Refrigerator Pickles




My mom makes amazing Russian food, most of my "Russian" recipes come from her. She was and still is a supermom. She managed to work, run a household, cook  dinner every day, and raise 7 kids.   
Every summer she would can her own pickles and tomatoes. I actually dreaded those days as a child. It meant all hands on deck. Jars needed to be washed, garlic needed to be peeled, bags of pickles needed to be scrubbed, dill needed to be chopped. But now as a mom I look back  I realize those were amazing bonding moments, and I really miss those days. I miss sitting around the dining table with my sisters talking and helping out. Especially since they all live across the country from me. 

I love the idea of canning, but this is not something I want to do. However, making refrigerator pickles in ridiculously easy.  In Russian they are called: Mалосольные Oгурцы. (Low Sodium Dill Pickles) I grew up eating these pickles my whole childhood. My mom would make them often during the summer for the weekend. 

They last about a week in your fridge, but we always eat ours within 2 or 3 days. 


Print recipe HERE


Ingredients:

Pickling cucumbers (I use about 3 pounds)
8 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
3 bay leaves
1 cup of chopped dill
10 black peppercorns
2 TB of pickling salt to 4 cups of water

Directions:

Wash and cut both ends of the cucumbers. 

Place chopped dill, garlic, bay leaves, pepper corns in a large jar or bowl with a lid, then put in your cucumbers. 

In a medium size bowl or a 4 cup measuring cup, add 4 cups of cold water and 2 TB of picking salt. Mix until completely dissolved.

Pour over the cucumbers. Repeat until all of your cucumbers are completely covered with water. I had to repeat 2 times. 

Place into the fridge for 24 hours, and then enjoy. These are amazing and can get addictive. I love to slice some up to snack on during the hot summer days. 







Thanks for visiting, 


Peach Cream Cheese Coffee Cake


It is peach season here in the NW and we are taking full advantage of that. Not only have we been picking peaches, but I have been buying them by the box full.  We all love eating peaches, but I also love baking with peaches. I usually bake my peach pie and this yummy cobbler,  but today I decided to go with something a little more simple. A peach coffee cake. Let me tell you, it is so good! With the creamy cheesecake filling, succulent peaches and crumbly streusel topping. You won't be disappointed. 


Ingredients
    Streusel topping:
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
  • Cream cheese filling: 
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • Cake: 
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 peaches, sliced into wedges

Instructions


            Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Grease a springform pan


          To make streusel topping: 
          Combine the sugar, flour, and butter (chilled and cubed) in a food processor and pulse until 
          crumbly. 
          Set in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

    To make cream cheese filling: 

    In a the bowl of your stand mixer, beat softened cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth, for about 30 seconds. Add vanilla extract and an egg, and beat for about a minute more until combined and very smooth. Set aside. 

    Make cake:
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, together into a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat butter, sugar, and 2 eggs until very light in color and fluffy, 2-3 minutes on high speed. Add vanilla and Greek yogurt and continue beating until very creamy and light in color, for about 1 more minute.
  3. Keeping the mixer speed low, mix in the flour mix until combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Transfer the cake batter to the springform pan. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on top. Top with sliced peaches. Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the fruit. 
  5. Bake until the cake turns golden, and a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your oven. 
  6.  After cake has cooled, release the cake from the springform pan. 


What is your favorite thing to bake with peaches? 



Sunday Fun-day- Visiting The Evergreen Aviation Museum


Sunday is our "family day". A day we put aside to go and do something with our family. Go biking, hiking, visit museums, parks or anything else we want to do. The boys have been wanting to visit the Aviation Museum for a while now,  and since my little bother and sister are here for a visit, it seemed like a great time to do it. 

I have to say, I was blown away by all of the planes, I wanted to photograph all of them, they were all so shiny and pretty. Listen to me call military aircraft pretty. Well I can't help it, the hanger was beautiful and bright, and all the planes just seemed to shine. 
William (my two year old) is really into planes right now (and construction trucks). He was thrilled  to be able to be so close to the airplanes. He didn't like the fact that he wasn't allowed to touch and climb on them. What do you mean mom? Why can't I touch it, its mine, mine mine!



The Evergreen Aviation Museum is the home of The Spruce Goose. (I am not a huge history buff, but I did remember it from watching the Aviator) It was built by Howard Hughes in 1942 (World War II) entirely out of wood due to wartime metal restrictions! 
It was the largest airplane ever constructed and flown only one time! 

I had no idea it was so MASSIVE! 






Peach Picking



I couldn't sleep last night, I woke up around 3:30am and I wasn't able fall back asleep, as much as I tried. A combination of stress (well I should say worry, not stress) and my husbands snoring is to blame. So after tossing and turning, and literally turning my husband to his side about 5 times, I gave up and got out of bed at 6:30am. I tiptoed around the house and got my dinner prep, baking, laundry and cleaning done before the kids woke up at 8:30, Score! After breakfast I suddenly realized that we had a free day now. (Somehow I got everything done in just a two hours, Probably has alot to do with the fact that the kids were asleep)  a free day meant a  day full of possibilities. Don't you love it when that happens? I decided to go peach picking with the kids. There is something about peaches picked fresh from the orchard. Something different. They are so fragrant, juicy, sweet, sticky and  so scrumptious. 

The kids had so much fun, I think I picked like 4 peaches, and they got the rest. Picking peaches is so much easier and faster then berry picking. You basically can pick all you need in a few minutes and use the rest of your free time to stroll down the paths,  breathe in the fresh smell and just enjoy nature all around you. Emily was off hiding in the trees, playing Laura in The little House of The Prairie, and Nico was an Indian boy in the forest. 

We picked about 23 pounds, and decided to make a peach pie as soon as we got home. Mmmm... 2nd best idea of the day. I love peach pie, well almost any kind of pie, but particularly peach. My recipe guarantees a flaky golden brown crust, filled with delicious peaches seasoned with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon. Its a fail proof recipe, my pies always turn out perfect. In fact, I am eating it right now, as I type up this post. It is so so good. 






Lemonade Stand


We have a summer bucket list of things we want to accomplish during the summer. Do we always do it all? Nope, but it gives us ideas of things to do when we are bored. Yesterday the kids were complaining that they are bored. What?! How can you be bored?? You have so much toys to play with, you have a great back yard. But nope, they are bored. The always want their friends to come over.

Well, I decided to sit down with the kids and ask them what are some things they want to do this summer. "Keep it real guys, ok? Do we want to go to Disney land? Heck yeah! are we going to? Not this year. So we listed small things like: go to the beach, build a sand castle, go to the zoo, go to the pool, learn to roller skate, have a sleep over with our cousins, go on a weekend getaway, go to the fair, have lemonade stand and so on.

So today we tackled the lemonade stand. The kids were ecstatic. They play store all the time, but actually selling things for real money! What, why haven't we done this sooner? lol

I baked my chewy chocolate chip cookies, which we wrapped up individually. Off course I left some for us to snack on while we waited for customers. We bought this market stand from IKEA last year, it has been in the garage for a while now. It is cardboard and only costs $15. Great for pretend play.

I love the cash register too, it is solar powered (no need to replace batteries!! yes!!)  and has a calculator which the kids practice their addition and subtraction. They are learning through playing and they don't even know it!






4th of July Celebrations


Hello my dear friends, I hope you all had a great weekend. With me still battling this darn cold, we decided to keep our Independence Day celebrations pretty low key. My sister's family came over for a BBQ and fireworks. The kids were so excited to spend all day with their cousins, even at 11pm, they didn't want to part, "please can they stay longer" Can they sleep over" Its so adorable, I am glad they have cousins they love so much. 

We made burgers, roasted potatoes, slaw salad and corn on the cob for dinner. mmm... You can't go wrong with that. Oh, and dessert? I made my  berry tart (always a favorite) and a blueberry cobbler. I could not get enough of both of them. 

Afterwards we spent the rest of the evening in our front yard, we made a fire, made smores and lit  fireworks. We all had such a great time, and I managed to snap a few pictures through out the day. Heres what our day looked like. 




Blueberry picking with the family..



July means summer, and summer means fresh blueberries! Our local blueberry patch opened for picking about 3 weeks ago, we have yet to go because of our trip, however as soon as we got a chance, we grabbed our wagon, buckets and off course a box of tissues for me (I am on day 5 of this darn cold), and headed to the farm. We have been coming to the same farm for 5 years now, I love how tall the blue berry bushes are- they provided much needed shade on hot summer days.



Growing up, one of the things we avidly did was go berry picking. Every summer we would pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries. I even remember picking walnuts and peaches.  It was something I really enjoyed doing, and my kids feel the same way. Off course, they are still young and are only interested in picking for about 10 minutes, then they just run up and down the rows. But between all of us, we ended up picking 36 pounds! I froze about 15 pounds, gave some away and the rest are in my fridge. I am planning on making a blueberry cobbler for 4th of July, and off course a berry tart, and the rest are for eating. As I type this post up, I am eating a big bowl of berries, think of all the antioxidants, mmm.....










Visiting Family



We just came back from our trip to Missouri a few days ago. When people hear "Missouri" they usually make a face and ask why in the world would I want to go there. Well the reason is simple- Family.  My parents and most of my siblings live there. They actually moved there about 5 years ago, and we try to make it out there often, but with the kids, the trip is hard. This year we had a great reason, my sister was getting married.  The wedding was beautiful, and something we will look back at for many years to come.

My family occasionally visits us in the PNW, but I haven't been back there in about 2 1/2 years! So it was great to visit and see everyone in the same place. I have 5 sisters, and spending time with them all has been amazing. I love each and every one of them:




It was great to spend some time with my daddy :) love this man. He has given so much to all of us kids. Putting up with the drama of 6 girls is not easy ;)


We even had a chance to go on a triple date with my sisters and their husbands.
How refreshing was it to be able to eat without worrying about the kids because I knew they were in good hands of their grandparents. 





We stayed at my sisters house, but spent a lot of time at my parents house (good thing they live just about a mile away from each other)  As soon as we would wake up, the kids would ask if we could go to grandmas house. They loved it there, my daughter in particular loved the kitty, the dog and off course the chickens. She would ask grandma if she could collect eggs with her every day we were there.
She made the kitten toys and would play with her every chance she got, she told me that she had no idea that cats could be so fun. In fact she is already hinting on a kitten for her birthday. Ahem.. we shall see. 





Nico, on the other hand is not a fan of animals. He wouldn't even walk in the back yard because he feared the dog would lick him.  Instead loved to spend time with his Uncle Dennis, who was there to take him from point A to Point B in the back yard without the dog getting anywhere near him. Now thats a good uncle right there.



William loved everything, he loved having so much room to run around and explore. He loved all of the animals, so when the dog would lick him, he would giggle, when he found the kitten, he would pet her and admire how soft she was. He didn't understand why the chickens kept running away from him :) Its always an adventure with this little guy.

My Sisters Wedding


One of my younger sisters, Kristina, got married last week. My family lives across the country so we flew down for the wedding. Kristina was a beautiful bride, and the wedding was lovely. Emily was one of the flower girls and Nico was the ring bearer, which was very special for them. 






I come from a large family. We have 7 kids, and 6 of them are girls! Growing up with 5 sisters was pretty great. We always had someone to talk to, someone to share clothes with, someone to walk to school with, and someone to sit with, so we were never alone, and never lonely. Sure there were some fights, but which siblings don't fight?  My childhood was never boring, I have so many wonderful memories of my sisters. But I will admit that the older I get, the more I appreciate each and every one of them. Each of my sisters has their own personality, their own hopes and dreams, their own strengths and weaknesses. As they get older and more mature, it is easier to see and love them all for who they are.  

-Julie, Yana, Kristina, Me, Annette, Mary-

I am the 2nd oldest, so I babysat a lot of my younger siblings, and the fact that my youngest sister (the baby of the family ) is 15 years old now, really makes me stop and think. How can time fly by this fast. I am going to be 30 years old this year! What!? How?!!

-my baby sister Annette with Emily-