Monday, April 30, 2012

13: In preparation to go home....

I bought a new dress! I am sooooooo tired of wearing the few normal-weather things I brought with me to Russia that I just haaaaaad to buy something new to go home in. After a day of shopping (I mean, I literally went to every store in the mall that sold clothes for females), I ended up with this outfit!

-orange belt ( I was in an orange mood today, whatever that means)

Here's the fabric of the dress up close.....I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED TO WEAR THIS!,

Sunday, April 29, 2012

14: It's almost awkward to admit...

but I am going to miss living in a country that loves it some beets....

(not to be confused with "The Beets", a popular rock group from Doug)

Reasons why I love them and you should too:
1. They're delicious
2. They're probably one of the prettiest colors you can put in your food
3. WHY NOT?!
4. They're good for you-they are a great source of iron, can boost your immune system, they have 0 (yes, that's right, ZERO) trans or saturated fat, a great source of instant energy, they contain magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, C, and niacin, they contain folic acid (which aids in the production/maintenance of new cells), and are believed to help guard against some types of cancer and heart disease.
5. They are sooooooo cheap! Especially in Russia! If I recall correctly I paid about 5 rubles (about 17 cents) for 3 or 4 whole beets. Of course the down side was that I had to boil and skin them myself, but WHO CARES! They're wonderful!
6. They are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth! They're a naturally sweet food, and great to use when you're craving a meal with just a hint of natural sweetness.

It just so happens that I used beets at dinner tonight....
Dachelle's Super Bizarre "Why are there beets in this?!" Dinner!

What you will need:
  • 1 beet, pre-cooked/skinned, sliced and cut (if it's your first beets experience, you may want to slice them thinly and cut them thinly across as well)
  • 1 chicken breast, sliced thinly
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 an apple, cut into match-stick size pieces
  • 1 beer 
  • flour
  • basil
  • cinnamon
  • a garlic-based seasoning (at home I would suggest Adobo, my favorite go-to seasoning)
  • salt & pepper
  • soba noodles (to serve the dish over)
How to cook:
  • In a skillet, heat butter, allow onions to cook until tender, add beets and apple
  • In a small bowl, mix flour and water which will be combined to skillet in order to thicken the mixture
  • Add flour/water to pan
  • Stir until flour/water mixture is fully combined with ingredients
  • Add 1/2 cup of beer
  • Season with salt, adobo, pepper, and basil
  • Allow to cook until the mixture has become thick like a stew, add cinnamon to taste
   -In a separate pan....
  • Pan-grill chicken, season with pepper
  • Once chicken is cooked, add beet stew to pan
Serve over soba noodles, and enjoy!
*I added a bit of soy sauce to my noodles before adding the chicken and beets on top, it sounds a taaad bit crazy with all of the flavors already going on, but I have never been told that I've made anything absolutely disgusting before in my life, so I think you can trust me.....unless I'm trying to get you to make TERRIBLE food....maybe.

It was my first time making something with beets that didn't involve throwing them over a salad or turning them into soup. If you're skeptical, I will be making this at home, so beware!

Dream.Love.Discover (that your fingers are now stained red from all the fun you had with beautiful beets!),

Saturday, April 28, 2012

15: Saturday Class

Saturday class, for you I have some sass,
It was a gorgeous day, I wanted to go outside and play
Looking out the window at the sun, I thought "oh, how I'm missing out on fun"
And still, I had to stay

Saturday class, I wished that quickly you would pass, 
but having no luck, in the room I was stuck,
By the time you were done hurting my head, I simply wanted to crawl back into bed
And spent the day like a sitting duck

Saturday class, I found you to be quite crass,
You ruined a fine spring day, just so I don't have to have classes til Tuesday,
I would rather just wait, or be sent home on an earlier date,
But instead, you just caused the weekend to delay!

Saturday class, I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!
That is all.

(exactly how I felt this morning)

     In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, which gives us the great joy of not have classes on Monday or Tuesday, we had the wonderful joy of our second Saturday class of the semester. Apparently in Russia when holidays are to come up (usually those wonderful Monday holidays we usually live for back home!), the trade off is a Saturday working day. I don't know about you, but something about it screams CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT to me! In reality though, I suppose it could have been worse, but let's face it, no one wants their weekend to be delayed to sit through a morning of classes, especially on a day that is gorgeous and sunny!,

Friday, April 27, 2012

16: My favorite Russian Cartoon....

"Ну, погоди!" will always have a special place in my heart (well, the part of it that wishes, for some unknown reason, to be Russian-it's also the same part that thinks beets are delicious...). "Just You Wait!" follows a sneaky (and hipster-esque) Wolf (Волк) who plots, plunders, and of course fails at catching the Hare (Заяц). Likened to Tom and Jerry, this Soviet cartoon would definitely not fly back in the states with the Wolf's horrid set of habits and well, let's face it, because he's Russian (although he's just considered your average, every-day smoking, vandalizing hooligan!), but has always been one of my favorites. I was first introduced to it my first semester of Russian Language (русский язык) and have had the joy of watching it a few times in my Russian Language course here in SPb-needless to say, I still enjoy it just as much as I used to and hope you will enjoy it as well! (a tricky, tricky Soviet Wolf's failures at capturing rabbits!),

Thursday, April 26, 2012

17: Locks of Love...

With its long, cold winters,  and a reputation of people that are equally as ice cold (a false stereotype btw!), I wasn't expecting Saint Petersburg to be a place that was keeping love alive and well, but lo-and-behold, this place is bursting at the seams with awfully romantic couples who enjoy displaying their love...everywhere- strolling down the  gorgeous streets, getting waaaaaay more close than we would ever see two people be back home in the metro stations, etc. I cannot name a day that has gone by that I have not seen at least one person with a bouquet of roses in hand (ODD NUMBERS ONLY, unless you're buying them for a funeral!). 
Seeing all this love has definitely not helped to decrease my level of homesickness...

That being said, one of my favorite traditions so far is definitely one of the simplest gestures of love you can find around town. I like to call them "love locks"-(usually) heart-shaped locks that have initials or names on them I usually see them locked on a bridge or to an iron gate/fence. They are a simple, yet extremely photogenic and beautiful symbol of love. Here are just a few of the locks I have found during my travels in and around SPb (as well as in Novgorod & a few other places just outside the city). (one of the coldest places you've ever been is keeping love warm in their hearts!),

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

18!! Soaking up the Saint Petersburg Sun!!!

Yes, you did, in fact, read correctly- today was a GORGEOUSLY SUNNY, WARM Spring day here in Saint Petersburg. How did I spend it?-Taking in some sights I haven't gotten to see since our first weekend here, strolling through the center of town in search of men with bears, witnessing a gathering near the Hermitage (hello men in uniform!), and topping it off with sweet deals from Pizza Hut (yes, there is a Pizza Hut-actually several-around here, and yes, after officially experiencing it for the first time, I can say it is delicious!).

Sites of the day: Peter and Paul Fortress & Palace Square. Enjoy!!!!

Everyone was enjoying the sun!

In a picture....
...and in real life!

The boys...I mean MEN (but not really) hanging out on the top of the fortress walls.

 Don't start thinking you can leave your anchor lying around all willy-nilly out here in Saint Petersburg!

Marching practice? This guy's not looking too happy about it...

DREAM.LOVE.DISCOVER (fun things to do when the sun comes out to play in the 'burg),

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Although it's sad to realize that there are only 19 days left in the 'burg, I am becoming awfully antsy to get home and wrap up what has been the most amazing, wonderful, superfantastic year abroad I could have ever imagined. With weekend trips, an internship, and a summer chock full of Burlington goodness, I am sooooooo looking forward to Summer 2012.

If you've been in Russia this semester and haven't heard this song, you're probably a hermit. 

PS. This also helps to explain why Russians are such awful and crazy drivers! (Russians dancing in their cars like loons!),

Spring Break Part II: Cooking Up a Storm in Riga...

For the second half of my spring break week, I was off to Riga, Latvia-a short 4.5 hour bus ride from Vilnius and one of the largest cities in the Baltic States. Much like Vilnius, Riga also has an old town and a tumultuous past, experiencing Nazi and Soviet invasions, but has managed to become a thriving capitol-home to more than 1/3 of Latvia's population. After searching around for tours of the city and things to do before my arrival there, my goal was simple: get there and get cooking. As I had been dying to take a few cooking classes while abroad (to get a better idea of what local cuisine was like in the various places I have visited), I jumped at the chance to learn about Latvia through its menus. During my 3 days there, I wandered the Old Town, ate gloriously delicious meals, toured through the Riga Central Market (which is now one of my favorite places), and was guided in making Latvian Cold Soup, Latvian Stew, and some delicious (yet disastrous-looking) dessert. It was the perfect ending to an amazing week.

Taking in some Old Town sights....

(The Freedom Monument, dedicated to the soldiers killed during the fight for Latvian Independence)

And the Riga Central Market....

 Fire Up the Stove, We're Cooking Now....

The Group...

The Soup...

The Meal...

The Desserts that just didn't want to seal...

 My time in Latvia was short, but sweet and delicious for certain. After a night exploring the city and making new friends, I greeted the sunrise and was off to catch my bus back to Saint Pete's. After a looooooong haul on a LuxExpress Bus, a stop through customs, and a few moments of utter bewilderment when I forgot to calculate time change & thought the SPb metro suddenly decided to run at 5:00 am, I was back to reality and ready to hit the decline of the semester. (that 1 girl + 1 backpack + 10 days of travel=GREAT SUCCESS!),

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