May 2016 - Buttered Side Up

Russian Cream (Sour Cream Panna Cotta) with Vanilla Rhubarb Compote

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.
The first time I had Russian Cream was almost four years ago. Reuben's aunt had a celebration for all the years she had spent working as a cook at a Russian camp, and we were invited! Lucky us. I can't recall many details of the menu (it was delicious!), but the dessert was certainly memorable.

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.
We were served what I assumed was panna cotta. But when I tasted it, there was a faint hint of tanginess, almost like cheesecake. It was topped with raspberries, which complemented the slightly sour dish perfectly. Fabulous.

Reuben and I talked about how much we enjoyed it on the ride home.

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.
I asked Reuben's aunt what on earth that delicious dessert was called, and she said it was Russian Cream. I knew I needed to try to replicate it at home.

But the years passed, and for some reason I never did attempt it.

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.
Last week, I decided that needed to change. So I copied down a recipe that I had saved up for quite some time, making some changes so it would be a tad healthier (you know me).

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.
I stirred everything together, poured it into little serving dishes, slid them into the refrigerator, and hoped for the best. And I was not disappointed.

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.
This Russian Cream is so smooth and utterly creamy. But somehow it manages to be light at the same time. It's slightly sour, but not nearly as tangy as cheesecake. It slips over your tongue delightfully. And there's the occasional pleasant crunch from the vanilla beans.

It's divine, but it's also stupidly easy to throw together. My kind of dessert.

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.

You can serve this dish with a variety of toppings: the vanilla rhubarb compote in this recipe, fresh berries (blackberries or raspberries are nice), good-quality jam...oh, and I just had an idea: LEMON CURD. That would be amazing.

Reuben suggested that you could add a graham cracker crust for a quicker, easier cheesecake-like dessert. I might have to give that a try.

I foolishly left the rhubarb compote on the table while I nursed James. When I returned, Helen had eaten most of it.

When I shared this dessert with my sister and her family, my brother-in-law commented, "This is how yogurt SHOULD be." And my 7-year-old niece said, "It's too yummy."

Russian Cream (or Sour Cream Panna Cotta) -- a slightly tangy, delightfully creamy dessert. It's stupidly easy to make.
My recipe isn't authentic Russian Cream: I used maple syrup instead of sugar as a sweetener, and I added loads of vanilla bean paste. I also cut WAY down on the sweetener, which I prefer. But if you have more of a sweet tooth, use the higher amount of sugar suggested.

Oh, and if you'd like more rhubarb recipe ideas, check out this post. And for even more info on rhubarb, check out Brenda's post on The Pioneer Woman's blog.

Russian Cream (Sour Cream Panna Cotta) with Vanilla Rhubarb Compote

Adapted from Eighty Twenty Dietitian | Makes 6 half-cup servings | 4 hours | PRINT


1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup,
2 1/2 teaspoon grass-fed gelatin,
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water,
pinch of salt,
1 cup heavy cream,
1 1/2 cups sour cream,
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste,

For the Vanilla Rhubarb Compote:

1 1/4 cups chopped rhubarb,
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup,
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste,


In a medium saucepan, whisk the maple syrup and gelatin. Add the water, whisk, and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. The mixture may bubble up as it starts to boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream and vanilla bean paste. Whisk in the maple syrup/gelatin mixture. Pour into serving dishes, cover, and chill for 3-4 hours, or until totally set.

Meanwhile, make the rhubarb compote:

In a small saucepan, boil the rhubarb and maple syrup until the rhubarb is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste. Chill before serving.

To serve:

Top each of the bowls of Russian cream with the cooled rhubarb compote. Enjoy!


Rhubarb leaves are poisonous, so please don't use them in your compote!

You can use vanilla extract in place of the vanilla bean paste if you wish. Or you could substitute 1-2 vanilla beans.

If you're serving this with a very sour fruit, you may want to use the higher amount of maple syrup.

Some links are affiliate. All opinions are completely my own.

Sushi Rice Bowls

Sushi Rice Bowls | Buttered Side Up
Lately, something that's been on my mind is slowing down. When you have kids, the temptation is to rush rush rush to get EVERYTHING done while they're napping.


This might fulfill some people, but it just stresses me out. And stress ain't good for your health.

I've been trying to slow down and think about what I'm doing. So far I have been really enjoying it! And I feel like I'm actually getting MORE accomplished than I usually do.

Sushi Rice Bowls 17


If you're all like, "ICK! Sushi is gross!!!"

Give these bowls a try.

If you're all like, "Sushi takes way too much special equipment to make."

Give these bowls a try.

Seriously. They are delicious!

Go get the recipe (and step-by-step instructions) on The Pioneer Woman's blog.

Do you feel like your life is set on fast-forward sometimes? What do you do to relax and slow down?

Eat Your Greens: Spinach

Eat Your Greens- Spinach - Buttered Side Up
I think we all know that we should be eating more green leafy vegetables. They're packed with nutrients. But somehow it can be a bit difficult to actually incorporate them into meals. I don't know about you, but I'm usually super rushed when I'm cooking breakfast or lunch. With two little kiddos at home, I don't have loads of extra time to prep veggies.

Spinach is a great green to have on hand, because it's quick and easy to cook and tastes delicious. It contains many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, E, K, B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, as well as antioxidants (source). Wow!

Eat Your Greens- Spinach - Buttered Side Up

Most spinach that you buy is "triple washed and ready to eat" - but I like to wash it anyway if I'm going to be eating it raw.

A simple soak in a vinegar and water solution can help reduce the bacteria on your produce. You can read more about that HERE.

I like to soak my spinach in my salad spinner (a trick I learned from Kristin of Live Simply). That way, I can easily lift the basket out, dump the water out, and spin the spinach dry.

Spin the spinach dry. Spin the spinach dry. Sorry.

Eat Your Greens- Spinach - Buttered Side Up
The recommended ratio of water to vinegar is 3 to 1. I don't always have enough vinegar on hand, so I use a smaller ratio of vinegar to water. But if you want the full bacteria-fighting benefits, you should use the 3-to-1 ratio.

Of course, to really reduce the likelihood of contracting a foodborne illness, you can cook your spinach. This also reduces the oxalic acid, which can inhibit mineral absorption, and also goitrogens, which can mess with your thyroid (Read more about that here, here, here, here, and here. Now you have reading material for dayz...).

A great way to reduce the amount of oxalates and goitrogens is to steam (or boil) your spinach for about 5-7 minutes. Make sure you throw out the water, because the oxalates and goitrogens leach out into the water. You can also squeeze the (cooled) spinach to remove excess water (a trick I learned from Deliciously Organic). This makes it super compact for storing!

Put your cooked (cooled!) spinach in a storage container and keep it in the fridge to use all week. Or you can freeze it for longer storage.

Eat Your Greens- Spinach - Buttered Side Up
A really easy way for me to incorporate spinach in my diet is to add it to my morning scramble. It's also great in hashes. You could add it to your smoothies as well.

Also, I think it's super important to be consuming your leafy greens with healthy animal fats (such as grass-fed butter and ghee) which help with nutrient absorption.

I hope all this information was helpful to you - it was fun to research! Which leafy green would you like me to tackle next?

How do YOU like to eat your spinach?

NOTE: Some links are affiliate. All opinions are my own.

In Season NOW: Rhubarb

Here in northern Minnesota, the growing season is quite short: it starts late and ends early. Any hearty plant that appears early is appreciated.

Rhubarb is one of those awesome plants that comes back every year. It requires very little upkeep. It's there waiting for you to harvest once it has a chance to grow when the weather warms up.

It contains calcium, vitamin K, manganese, and other good vitamins/minerals/antioxidants/good-for-you-stuffs. Read more about its health properties here and here.

It's tangy and colorful and is scrumptious in baked goods.

It's easy to freeze for use later in the year as well.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

[NOTE: I would probably modify many of these recipes by using organic sugar, reducing the sugar, using healthy flours and fats, etc. You can read about my take on health HERE]


Lacto-Fermented Rhubarb Soda
Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Cordial


Rhubarb Vanilla Bean Jelly
Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Preserves
Rhubarb Butter
Honey Sweetened Rhubarb Fig Jam (pectin free)
Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam
Rhubarb Curd (recipe in German)


Goat Cheese Vanilla Bean Pancakes with Strawberry Rhubarb Syrup
Roasted Blueberry and Rhubarb Crepes
Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes with Elderflower and Poached Rhubarb
Strawberry, Rhubarb, and Mascarpone Crepes
Nutty Rhubarb Oatmeal
Mascarpone Rhubarb Stuffed French Toast

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake (by Yours Truly)
Coconut Flour Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
Rhubarb Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise
Raspberry Rhubarb Tart
No-Bake Rhubarb Cheesecake Parfaits
Rhubarb Galette
Rhubarb Custard Crumble Tart 
Rhubarb Crumble Muffins
Rhubarb Crunch (by Yours Truly)
Rhubarb Tart
Rhubarb and Vanilla Sponge Pudding
Rhubarb Danish
Lemon Rhubarb Ricotta Pound Cake
Old-Fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Custard Crepe Cake

Have you ever eaten/cooked with Rhubarb? If so, what's your favorite thing to make with it?

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