Around the world in 12 dishes – Russia

by Jen in around the world in 12 dishes

This month’s trip has landed us in Russia. What an interesting learning experience we have had this month.  We started our trip at the library where we discovered the magical world of Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga is a witch who shows up in many Russian children’s folktales. She isn’t always evil, but she usually is, and she is always riding inside of a mortar and holding a pestle. Which seemed a little strange to us. While we found Baba Yaga in a few books, it was “Vasalissa the Beautiful” that we focused on. Vasilissa is sort of like Cinderella. Her mother dies, her father marries a mean woman with 2 terrible daughters. The difference is that there is no prince. Vasilissa is forced to go to Baba Yaga’s home…she’s terrified. Thankfully, Vasilissa has a magical doll that her mother had given to her. This doll helps Vasalissa survive her time with Baba Yaga and ultimately return home. My youngest daughter and I decided to make our very own doll. Here is what we did…
paper russian doll

Using a paper doll body and clothing we cut out the pieces we needed to make our doll out of felt.

tracing felt doll
tracing felt doll clothing

Assembled the pieces and stitch together the dress pieces.

felt russian doll

Added a face and hair to the doll.

felt russian doll for child
My daughter wanted to keep the clothing as removable, so I didn’t stitch the doll together completely. This craft was a great joint project. My daughter even did some of the sewing. Now my daughter sleeps with this little doll. She refers to the doll as a worry doll, who she can tell all her worries to, just like Vasilissa did in the story book.

After we were finished reading this book we were inspired to make a tasty Russian treat…Russian tea cakes. We learned that these aren’t cakes at all, rather they are cookies. Delicious little cookies. I found the recipe at a great Russian website Natasha’s Kitchen. These cookies were simple to make and are melt in your mouth good.
kid cooking
Mix together 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature), 1/2 cup icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla
kid cooking russian cake
Add 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1 tsp salt
kid chopping pecans
Add 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (we used pecans)
child baking
Use a teaspoon to make 1″ balls. 
russian tea cakes
Bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes
icing sugar dusted cookie
russian tea cakes
Coat in icing sugar, while warm and again when they have cooled.
Russia was a great adventure. We were introduced to a new folk character and a yummy new favourite cookie. We had such a great time in Sweden and the UK and can’t wait to set off again. You will find this month’s passport page, filled with interesting facts about Russia here. If you are looking for the Russian placemat to print off, it’s right here.
We invite you to link up any posts that you might have written about Russia. We will be linking all the posts to our Pinterest Craft and Food pages. Also, next month we will be featuring a few of our favourite posts on our blogs on the last Sunday of the month. So, please link up below.
Take a look at the other blogs that are participating in Around the World in 12 Dishes are…
MaryAnne K May 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I love the doll you made! Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles =)

Valerie @ Glittering Muffins May 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm

That is such a cool turn out, I love that you made a doll with your daughter and she is using it like in the story :) Love the tea “cakes” too :)

hannahw May 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm

what wonderful learning going on!!! My learning laboratory post is here:

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