Greetings to the New Year!

Holiday Cake from Moldova!
Franzeluta Brand

The holiday cake is in the Ukrainian style, which is a little dry and crumbly like Rice Krispie treats. Not normally what I’d go for, but the creamy frosting balanced it well. It was just the tip of the iceberg on the holiday table. Moldovians have a tradition of filling a table “until it falls off the sides”, and it’s absolutely true! I’m pretty certain Boyfriend bought half the grocery store for Christmas dinner!

Speaking of which, Moldovians also have a very quirky tradition of celebrating two Christmases and two New Year’s  

This is a holdover from the traditional Orthodox calendar being switched over to the modern Julian calendar. Mostly I think they just like reasons to eat, drink and celebrate! (Though often families will pick one or the other, just to simplify) But this basically means in our home, this is the strange in-between time of “1st Christmas and 2nd Christmas” I’m sure the Hobbits would LOVE to get down with this kind of celebration!

And we’ve been doing lots of celebrating for sure! I had a cute little birthday party and a few days later we had a night out at the Nutcracker, performed by the Moscow Ballet in association with a local ballet school. They did a wonderful job- a stage full of cute little mice and silly antics! They had a couple perform who were absolute masters of acroyoga, blending it beautifully with the ballet style and receiving a standing ovation in the packed house.

I got my Dad a pile of these Russian candies for Christmas- they are surprisingly good!

And there was cooking, so much cooking! Since we’re finally settled into the apartment I’ve been able to start working on the Nata Albot “Eat like Moldovians” cookbook Boyfriend picked up for me! Yay! I’ve become obsessed with one recipe in particular

Suba Salad!

Nom Nom NOM!!

Now, honestly, this recipe is a bit strange to American tastes, so I adapted the recipe from the book just a little bit. “Suba Salad” basically translates to “herring in fur coat”, which, when you taste it, makes a sideways kind of sense. For instance, the Eastern Europeans have a weird THING for mayonnaise. I mean, a lot of them make it at home, so it’s better, but they REALLY pile it on so it can get a bit intense.

The “salad” is basically a cold, layered casserole type thing that can be eaten with any meal. Because it IS basically a meal in each bite! I cut down a layer of the mayo and topped the recipe with sour cream, and it turned out a lot more “clean tasting” than “furry”, haha!

So, to the recipe!

(Thank you to Nata Albot for your wonderful book “Eat like Moldovians” which has the original of this recipe!)

Ingredients:

About a pound of Pickled Herring (I like a thick layer!)

2 hard-boiled eggs

2 medium potatoes

3-4 carrots

1 onion

1 large beet

Mayonnaise

sour cream

vinegar

herbs as desired

Directions:

Peel and boil potatoes, beets and carrots. Cool, then grate them into separate piles. Chop onion, herring and hard-boiled egg. Keep separate.

Put a thick layer of herring on bottom of deep-dish glass/casserole pan. I like to mix the onion, a few tablespoons of vinegar and some herbs (like Italian seasoning or parsley or such) into this layer as well as it makes a vinaigrette type flavor. Smooth this mixture down and add a thin layer of mayonnaise. Or thick, if you’re really daring!

Next add a layer of the chopped hard-boiled egg. If you want more mayo, go for it, but I usually skip adding this layer to make it more “clean”. Next, add the layer of grated potato. I usually sprinkle some more salt and herbs here before adding the next layer of mayo. ( I did say they liked their mayo!) Then comes the layer of grated carrots, more mayo, then beets. And you guessed it, MAYO! If you aren’t such a dedicated mayonnaise enthusiast, substitute this for sour cream, then top with more herbs or parsley.

I know, it a strange recipe, but it comes out beautiful and it’s basically a full meal in each bite! I’ve been making a new batch twice a week it’s so popular in this house! I keep meaning to take a picture, but it’s eaten before I get the chance!

do you see my cute little stick figure skiing down the mountain?!

I’m working on practicing more in my art journal lately. I have to remind myself that this is a space that I can play and bit silly and make terrible mistakes and just start again the next day, no problem. It’s a good meditative practice for sure.

The page above is from the new year’s eve trip to Peek ‘n Peak ski resort in New York! WOOT! It’s been nearly ten years since I was on a pair of ski’s, but a few trips down the hill and all my childhood skill started coming right back! I had nothing on Boyfriend though- he’s like a fearless 5-year- old on those mountains. Straight down, no turns, grinning all the way. EEK! Not me, I’m all slow ‘n steady and make it down without having a heart attack thank-you-very-much.

And now, for some fun stuff to read and get your year going right!

Ode to why why winter is awesome, if you need some encouragement.  Or some awesome places to visit in winter.

Try this January Full Moon Tea

Awesome People Changing the World- One Wind Farm powering the whole of Europe at a time

Chocolate is going extinct. If this doesn’t get people interested in climate change, well, I don’t know if there’s hope for us!

I love this idea of Deep Focus from Zen Habits. It’s from 2018, but still worth sharing. I’ve already been inclined to a lot of this, but it’s expressed beautifully. He also goes into why it’s so hard for us to stick to our goals in the most original piece I’ve ever seen written on this subject.

Considering all that’s going on in the world, a “resolution” to live more ethically is worth considering. If you are really interested Living Ethically, is a 48 page free PDF going deep into what it means and how to involve ethics in every area of life

This epic totally recycled, waste-free mall in Sweden is the future. It is here. It is amazing.

Below is a link to the day 1 video for Yoga with Adriene’s 30 day start the year off right series. She’s got a good flow and soothing voice, great for quiet morning yoga!

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