Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis)

*I am consolidating Russian Bites will Healthy and Sane. Russian Bites will stay alive as a (hopefully) great resource for Russian recipes so this post is reposted from Healthy and Sane to keep the database of recipes up-to-date. Thanks for being loyal readers!*

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So let’s get back to food, shall we? Actually I sort of wanted to talk about kitchen gadgets. Gimmicky kitchen gadgets. Do you own any? I’m talking about silly things like Slap Chops (I own one! It’s collecting dust.), avocado slicersmango splitters and the like. Basically anything that a good ol’ knife would do FASTER. And then there is a whole new level of ridiculousness with the likes of egg poacher + english muffin toaster combo, andmarinade express tabletop unit(it’s $300!!). The good news is that some gadgets are AWESOME… even if you can in fact use something simpler to get the job done.

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You are

Russian pumpkin pancakes (olad’yi s tikvoy)

I am not a morning person at all. Every single day when the alarm goes off, I snooze about 10 times… and then eventually stumble into the kitchen to make my morning cup o’ joe. A few minutes later I can move on to the more advanced stuff like toasting a piece of bread and smearing it with nut butter + topping it with sliced fruit. Or at the peak of pre-work morning productivity, I can even fry up some bacon and eggs and make a pretty kick-ass breakfast sandwich. [Side note: how awesome is the smell of bacon in the morning?!!]

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Weekends have always allowed a bit more flexibility. I have time to actually drink the above mentioned cup of coffee while catching up on overnight emails before thinking of what I may want for breakfast. And today marks the 5th day of being able to do the same even on a weekday (one of the best parts about quitting my job so far… not gonna lie). These Russian

Blini (Russian Crepes)

Is there a recipe you’ve always feared of making? Have you tried it or does it just seem way too complicated? I can honestly say I’m generally quite fearless in the kitchen. To me, recipes are for the most part a set of instructions. And I’m good with following instructions. You read, you measure, you chop/mix/whatever… and eventually you get to eat. My favorite! But then there were blini

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…making them scared me. Seriously scared me. Blini (Russian crepes) is absolutely my most favorite breakfast. I just love these buttery crepes dipped in sweet condensed milk or sour cream with jam. Love. So a few years back (when I had very little interest in cooking actually, so this memory surprises me), I asked my mom to show me how to make them.

The batter was a piece of cake – mix some flour, eggs, milk (or cream), a pinch of sugar and salt and you’re ready to go. Easy! This is where things got a little scary. You pour the

Ponchiki (Russian donut holes)

Are you a creature of habit? Do you have the same special treat on every birthday? I could never commit to just one thing. I like mixing things up. I like experimenting in the kitchen. In fact, I very rarely make the same thing twice, even when it is really delicious the first time.

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What I do like doing on my birthday is filling my day with my favorite people, gifts (yep I said it), and delicious food (it is usually new food as a birthday is the perfect occasion to try out a new restaurant in my opinion!). And it is essential that the delicious food part begins the moment I wake up!

Birthday breakfasts should be a little more special, don’t you think? I had some tvorog left from the pirojki I made the week prior which I wanted to put to use for a new recipe here on the blog. Luckily, my mom reminded me of the perfect (special) breakfast – ponchiki! By the way, before we

Sirniki (cheese cakes)

Can you remember what your favorite childhood breakfast was? How often do you still eat it? Would you even want to try it now?

We had a few breakfasts on rotation when I was growing up; I remember oladyi, blini and sirniki. This weekend I finally had the chance to try making one of my old childhood favorites. It was so easy, this may be added to my adult breakfast rotation!

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Sirniki are cheese based little cakes (“sir” means cheese in Russian). As with most Russian breakfasts, they can be made savory or sweet. I prefer mine savory so I can douse them in sweetened condensed milk and not go into an instant sugar coma. Winking smile 

The cheese is called “tvorog” – the closest American equivalent to this is farmers cheese which I found at Whole Foods but I believe there are a few popular brands that also make it (I actually plan on

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