“Vánočka” is a very large semi-sweet braided Czech Christmas bread that is the symbol of Christmas in Czech Republic. It’s a treat you can see in nearly every Czech household, just prior to and/or during the Christmas holidays. Its name derives from the very word for Christmas in Czech, which is “vánoce”.Continue reading
Using yeast is the most common approach to making Czech Christmas bread (Vánočka). It requires two separate risings during the preparation process. From beginning to end, set aside at least 4 ½ hours to make. This recipe makes a long loaf with between 16 and 20 servings.
For a brief history of this Czech holiday staple, see my post Vánočka (Czech Christmas Bread) – Brief history and recipes. It references the recipe below, as well as an appealing yeast-free version that includes farmers cheese. Enjoy!
This is a variation on the beloved Czech Christmas sweet bread (Vanočká) that is usually made with yeast. Instead, this version uses baking powder and other leavening agents. It also includes soft-style farmers cheese (měkký tvaroh), which increases its richness and gives its inside a slightly softer texture. It is quicker to make than its yeast-raised cousin (soon to also be posted), only requiring about 2 hours or less, from start to finish.Continue reading
Mák (poppy seeds) are commonly used in baking, confections, and even more savory cooking, in Czech Republic. These poppy seed balls are unbaked, have only a small number of ingredients, and are relatively quick to make. If you love poppy seeds, you might really like these on your Christmas cookie platter. They are definitely unique!Continue reading
Today is only the second week of November, yet I’ve made my first batch of Christmas cookies this year! I’ve decided to add a few additional varieties to my 10 Varieties of Czech Christmas Cookies post. So maybe I’ll have 13 or 14 in that post before Christmas?
Here I’m featuring melt in your mouth coconut meringue cookies, which are also popular on Czech Christmas cookie trays. Like most Czech cookies, they are made small to be one or two-bites each. Virtually the only fat in these meringues comes from the coconut, unless you decide to dip them in chocolate, as well.Continue reading
This month, my Czech Christmas cookie posts are being viewed by hundreds of people. It’s quite exciting! I will not be posting any additional Czech cookie recipe this year, but thought I’d add at least one new Czech sweet to my blog. Buchty are very popular sweet buns that are usually filled with a family’s favorite sweet fillings. It is the case that many buchty fillings are used for other recipes, including some Czech Christmas cookie recipes. Given this, you may wish to keep note of the filling recipes, by themselves. Or, maybe consider filling your home with the lovely scent of buchty. My husband and I enjoy eating buchty for breakfast, but they can be enjoyed anytime!Continue reading
Graph Source: Wikimedia Commons (click here to see source)
Last Friday, my scale showed a mini weight gain. I had stayed within my daily calorie allowances. The gain annoyed me for that reason, and because it undid my accomplishment of reaching an interim goal. However, I knew I lost fat. Just knew it! I coughed up the gain to “other factors”, meaning water weight, hormonal fluctuations, and/or something else. My weight can fluctuate greatly, even within a day. So, I put that behind me. I expected that I’d see a good result today. Did I? See below. Continue reading
Even as an enthusiastic cook, I sometimes need a break. I don’t want to halt my weight loss journey, just ease up on some of the effort and time needed for meal planning and preparation. Fatigue and excess stress can lead to bad food choices, I know. I have to avoid this. Ways to simplify meal prep and planning is this week’s topic. But first things first – see my week’s weight change below. Continue reading
The herb lovage (levisticum officinale) is much more commonly used in Europe than the United States, but I’m lucky to say that it is a part of my herb garden. My Czech husband and I found it at a garden center in New Jersey, several years back. This sturdy tall perennial herb has come up every spring since, and lasts into early autumn.
Lovage has a flavor reminiscent of celery and parsley, so goes extremely well in soups and many other recipes. The whole plant is edible, even down to the roots, but in this recipe I use the stalks and leaves. Lovage is the star ingredient of this soup, along with root vegetables that add additional flavors, thickness, and a bit of sweetness. It’s important to use stalks with younger leaves, otherwise it can be slightly bitter. The recipe can be made vegetarian, or even vegan, easily. Continue reading
I would have been quite surprised if I didn’t lose weight this past week! I was determined to meet my interim goal of reaching the next lower 10 lb weight bracket, by today. Though my exercise did slightly dip, my daily food allowances were not exceeded. And yet, I think that some would not have thought all of my daily menus diet-like. Menu planning takes effort, but it’s more than worth it. Loving to cook and bake helps, too. Curious about my week’s weight change? It’s right below. Continue reading