just a smidgen

Gold Medal Russian Borscht Soup

Russian Borscht

Our spin class usually plays virtual bike rides while we cycle so that we can feel like part of a real cycling team as we “climb” hills and speed through the flats. Last week we convinced one of our instructors to turn it to televised Olympic sports and you could just feel the energy in the room soar. How could you not be motivated by watching the strongest athletes in the world perform on downhill moguls, half pipe aerials and luge to name a few. The endless years of dedication and singular focus is so impressive in itself. Often these athletes will say that they’ve missed out on the teen years of partying with their friends and not one regrets it.

My favorites will always be our own Canadian Olympic Team, but I’ve been impressed by the caliber of athletes from all countries. More noticeably, the incredible joy they feel while competing.. something that would probably make me freeze with terror!  Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze’s first shared Gold Medals in Woman’s Downhill was fantastic. Equally disappointing for me was the temper tantrum Laura Gut threw at the end of her race. Really.. do you need to smack your ski poles and show the world what a poor sport you are?

I loved watching Australian Torah Bright laughing, hugging and encouraging her fellow competitors as they snowboarded up to join her. Her bright smile and high spirits were infectious for us watching from home. She clearly loves competing and didn’t seem to mind where she placed, even though she won Silver! Word has it, there’s a bit of controversy surrounding some of her outspoken opinions, but we didn’t see any of that on Wednesday.

Russian Borscht 3

I love the story behind { sweethearts? } Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov Gold Medal win. For three years Maxim told his parents he lived in a dorm while living at the rink and often had only one meal a day when he first began skating at Saint Petersburg. The emotion on both their faces when they completed their skate was both riveting and heartwarming for us in the audience. Equally amazing were the risks taken by Germany’s Aliona Savcheko and Robin Szolkowy and their agonized expressions when they stumbled through jumps and finished their program.  I loved that they just went for it! And who didn’t love her Pink Panther outfit earlier? If I wore a bit more hot pink I might make it through this cold winter here on the Prairies, lol!

Patrick Chan had an opportunity to take Gold and ended up with Silver. I watched, riveted not only to his performance but to his interview after. In my mind, Patrick exemplifies the true Olympic spirit. He, unnecessarily apologized to his country for not winning Gold. Who cares about the Gold medal when you have such an outstanding and clearly talented and mature young man representing and winning Silver for his country! His smile says it all.. genuine, authentic and humble. It’s disappointing when the Toronto Sun said that he didn’t win Silver he lost Gold… and that he squandered an opportunity. Maybe Steve Simmons should get up from his computer and compete.. in anything and see how easy it is to just “get it done” under mind-numbing pressure.

Up next.. the favorite sport in our household.. Women and Men’s hockey.. we’ll be riveted to the television for those games!

After the Closing Ceremonies, the television will be shut off for likely another year.. after all, what else is really worth watching?

I used dark red beets.. but wouldn’t these pretty golden market beets make a lovely Borscht Soup?


This one got Smidge a Gold Medal last week.. everyone loved it, but then again, if you add bacon to a recipe, you’re almost always sure to win;)

Gold Medal Russian Borscht

Russian Borscht 2

Gold Medal Russian Borscht
  • 6-8 fresh beets
  • 1/2 large red onion, dice
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cups cabbage, thinly slice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • 2 x 900 mL beef broth
  • 1 russet potato, raw and diced
  • 6 slices bacon, diced and fried
  • sour cream
  • fresh dill
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. Line a small baking dish with foil, snip off the leaves leaving 1 inch intact. Then scrub your beets, pat dry and place in the prepared dish. Cover with foil and crimp edges to seal shut.
  3. Roast for 45 minutes, check for tenderness by piercing with a metal skewer. Continue to cook until the skewer slides through easily. Remove from the oven, take off the foil cover and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, either slide off or gently cut off the out layer of skin. Remove the stem and long tip. Dice and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, add the tablespoon of olive oil to a large dutch oven or soup pot. Set over medium-high heat and add the vegetables from onion through to the cabbage. Stir and cook until the vegetables begin to soften and gain some color. In the last few minutes of cooking add the garlic and season with salt and pepper and ground allspice. Continue to cook for another minute.
  5. Add the dried dill weed, broth, beet chunks, potato chunks, and bacon and continue to simmer the borscht until the potatoes are fork tender.
  6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a garnish of fresh dill.
We served this with sausage and pierogis, but this soup would stand on its own as a complete meal.

Love, Smidge


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