Show & Tell ~ Russian Heritage

Both of my parents were born in Russia in the 1920’s. They escaped into Iran and then met each other, were married, and immigrated to the U.S. shortly after WWII. I have a collection of Russian lacquer items and other souvenirs my parents brought back from more recent trips to Russia. Some of the items I acquired here in the U.S.


The little silver finish one is a gift from my SIL Christina that she found at an antique mall.

Lacquer Boxes with Fairy Tale Scenes, the larger one on top was an anniversary gift from Dear.

Matroyshka Collection


Wooden Spoons and Cups

Russian Barbie (Katie’s)

Winnie the Pooh in Russian

This was one of the dreaded school books we used. I had to go to Russian School on Saturdays. I thought this was the worst punishment in the world! Sometimes I’d hide when it was time to go and then when they found me I would stomp my feet and declare “I don’t want to go to Russian School.! I’m an American! “

This is the group of close friends and family that immigrated to the U.S. from Iran after WWII. They were close even though they were from different religious backgrounds, Russian Molokans, Russian Baptists and Russian Orthodox.

There are more Show and Tell Friday sites to see at There’s No Place Like Home.

My photos are being held hostage at the Photobucket site as of July 2017.

Shashlik ~ Barbecued Lamb Kebobs

1 leg of lamb de-boned
3 large onions sliced
Juice from 4 lemons mixed with 1/2 cup olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic crushed.
Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and pepper

Cut the lamb in pieces about 1-1/2 inches thick to 2 inches square. Trim off excess fat. Place a layer of onions in a large pot, then a layer of meat, season with Lawry’s and pepper, then sprinkle with lemon juice oil mixture. Repeat layers until all meat is in the pot ending with onions and lemon juice mixture. Cover and let stand in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or better overnight, stirring occasionally to let all the meat marinate thoroughly.

After the meat is done marinating, separate the meat from the onions. Thread the meat onto skewers, and broil outdoors over hot charcoal embers, turning the skewers occasionally to brown the meat on all sides. Now for the modern method you could use those fish cages to put the meat in and BBQ it on your gas grill. This is a lot simpler by far, but some swear by the old school method.

Serve with rice pilaf and a cucumber, tomato, onion salad.

Growing up when we were part of the Russian Molokan Church I remember the all church picnics we had at Brookside Park in Pasadena where there were several open grills cooking this wonderfully marinated lamb. So suculant, so yummy. We’d have rice and salads with it. What a highlight of the year those picnics were! For special family gatherings my father is the one who marinates and barbeques the lamb.

The Decade of the 50’s at a Glance

Here are 3 of my siblings, me and my pop in the glorious 50’s. Fred, Pop, Ellen (me), Kathy and Vera. The next four siblings started arriving from 1958 through 1963.

I was born in 1951. The beginning of the 50’s. Here are some amazing events that occurred in this decade.

1950 – Senator Joseph McCarthy embarks on a public crusade to uncover Communist activity in the U.S.

1950 – First kidney transplant  and first successul heart massage are performed.

1950 – U.S. sends troops to Korea.

1951 – Color television is introduced. [Ellen was born, maybe this is the reason I’m visual!]

1952 – A priest, minister, and rabbi sanction the appearance of Lucille Ball’s pregnancy on her TV show.

1952 – Albert Scweitzer is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1952 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected.

1953 – Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine is certified to prevent infantile paralysis.

1954 – Congress adds the phrase “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

1954 – Brown v The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas outlaws segegation in schools striking down the doctrine of “separate but equal.”

1955 – Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a city bus and, in effect, begins the civil rights movement.

[1955 – Disneyland Opens in Anaheim, California.]

1956 – Elvis Presley releases “Heartbreak Hotel” and starts a music revolution.

1956 – Eisenhower and Nixon win again.

1957 – Federal troops are called in to protect the Little Rock Nine, the first black students to attend all-white Central High.

1957  – The baby boom peaks at 4.3 million births.

1957 – The USSR launches a satellite, Sputnik I, into orbit around the earth.

1959 – The first Barbie doll is introduced.

1959 – Texas Instruments invents the microchip.

1959 – Alaska becomes the 49th state, Hawaii the 50th.

Some memorable quotes to go with this decade…

“We conclude that in the field of education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place.”  Earl Warren, Chief Justice, Brown v. The Board of Education, 1954

“Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic, expression of Americanism. Without God , there could be no American form of government, nor American way of life.” Dwight D. Eisenhower – American Chronicle, 1955

“If the television craze continues with the present level of programs, we are destined to have a nation of morons.” Daniel Marsh (President of Boston College, Columbia Chronicles, 1950)

“Roll over Beethoven. And tell Tchaikovsky the news.” Chuck Berry, “Roll Over Beethoven,” 1956


This photo was taken in the late 60’s. Top Row: Oldest sister Kathy, pop, mom, Vera, Me, Tim, Leonard, Lana and Steve. Our brother Fred who is older than me is missing from this photo. All of my parents kids were born in the late 40’s, 50’s with the twins arriving in the 60’s.


I couldn’t finish this post without an additional photo of the last two siblings in our family. Twins born in 1963, Lana and Leonard. Oh the tales we can tell you about the marvelous 60’s and these two, but this is a post about the 50’s so those tales will have to wait….

ht: 100 Voices ~ Words That Shaped Our Souls, Wisdom To Guide Our Future ~ compiled by Anne Christian Buchanan and Debra K. Klingsporn Copyright 1999 by Front Porch Books

Happy Birthday Pop ~ 84 Years Young!

This photo is from 1974 so my pop is only 51 here.

I am so thankful to God for my father, Moisi (Moses) Timothy Bagdanov because…

He loves the Lord wholeheartedly.

He has paid the cost to follow Christ with joy.

He gave up retirement and his home to be a missionary to his hometown village in Russia.

He seeks reconciliation no matter what it costs him.

He loves and sacrifices for his family.

He loves my mother as Christ loves the church.

He calls a cellular phone a cellkular phone. 🙂

He still cares for the fatherless and those who have no one else to help them.

He is a faithful man.

He loves jigsaw puzzles.

He loves me.

Update: I just have to add two more Moisiisms to the list from September 2001. Yes I’m trying to keep a running list. Hey, brothers, sisters, nieces etc.  If you can think of your favorite Moisiisms add them in the comments! 🙂

“Michelle [his granddaughter] got 3 crackpots for wedding gifts”

“Fireman is outside checking the hydrogens”

Vinegrette ~ Russian Salad

Happy Birthday to my sister Kathy today May 23rd! You’ve been a wonderful daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother and grandmother. May God bless you richly all the days of your life on this earth!

Her version of this Russian Salad is posted below.

Kathy’s Vinegrette Recipe (cut recipe in half for smaller families)

2 cans julienne beets (partly drained) juice moistens and adds color
2 cans kidney beans (drained)
1 can sauerkraut (liquid squeezed out)
3 boiled potatoes
3 pickles diced (Claussen or Kosher dill brand preferred)
1/4 of an onion shredded

Dice potatoes, coat them with oil and salt them, then chill. Once the potatoes ae chilled add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. You could add a little of the pickle juice if you like that flavor. Taste then season to your liking. Usually the sauerkraut and pickles have enough saltiness that you won’t have to add any more.



This is such a colorful salad, it goes well with meat of any kind. At our house it goes with lamb or a juicy steak or sometimes all by itself. Simple, pretty and delicious! Bon Appetit!


Many Borsch recipes include beets in them. The familiar Borsch that we grew up with and that we had at Molokan Church Meals did not have beets in it. Here is my mother’s recipe.

Nadia’s Borsch

For the Stock:
1 Chuck Roast (with bone would be good)
1 onion
1-3 celery stalks with leaves
2-3 carrots
2 bay leaves
5-10 peppercorns
Salt to taste

In a big stock pot, cover chuck roast with good water. Add all the stock ingredients and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer. Simmer until roast is fork tender. Strain the stock. Reserve the roast.

1 head of cabbage shredded (green is what we use)
1-3 carrots grated
1-2 onions diced
1 bell pepper diced

2-3 stalks of celery diced

(saute the bell pepper, onion, celery and jalapeno then blend before adding to stock)
2-3 potatoes diced
2 cans stewed tomatoes blended in blender (we have those that don’t like chunky tomatoes)
1 can tomato sauce
1/2-small bunch of dill (to taste)
1 handful of chopped italian parsley
salt and pepper to taste
optional – 1 can of Garbonzo beans
option #2 – add a small jalapeno diced to the saute group above.

Put the strained broth back into a stock pot. Add all the above ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer until cabbage and carrots are tender. Taste and see if the soup needs more salt or pepper at this time.

The Borsch is ready now.

My mother doesn’t include this in her recipe but when she made borsch at my house once I saw her add a half a cube of unsalted butter at the end. 🙂 My mother mashes most of the potatoes to thicken up the soup a bit.

You can bake the chuck roast with a little of the stock, salt, pepper, and sauteeed onions to serve alongside the borsch with a good loaf of bread and of course…sour cream. This was my welcome home meal for my kids last night.


Russian Noodle Soup ~ Lopsha

All my photos for this post are being held hostage at Photobucket.

This soup (Lopsha) is made in huge quantities for Molokan Church Dinners. I have recipes to serve 200-250 people. They make their own noodles using 20 dozen eggs, 60 lbs. flour and 1 lb. salt, then make a stock from 35 lbs. of soup bones and 350 lbs of choice (kosher) beef. Usually Lopsha is served at funerals and Borscht (recipe coming soon) is made for Weddings. This is basic Russian Peasant Village Fare. I’m giving you a very simple quick recipe that you should enjoy. My family is not Molokan (we left the church in the ’60’s) We still have relatives and friends that are a part of this group.

All you’ll need is store bought (or home made) Chicken Broth and Jewish very fine egg noodles. ( Manischewitz or similar)


Bring the broth to a boil.


Add as many noodles as you like, but remember they expand while cooking. When the noodles are cooked the Lopsha is ready. Adjust your noodles as to how thick you like your Lopsha. If your soup gets too thick for your liking just add some more broth.


If you want a little more interest in the soup you can add cubed potatoes and carrots to the broth to cook them before you add the noodles. If you want those carrots and potatoes to be a lot tastier saute them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper before you add them to the broth.  Happy memories! If you want to see more yummy food, see what my mom was doing while I was making Lopsha, over at my sister’s blog.


The Molokans also make Maloshni Lopsha (Milk noodles) This recipe serves 30-40 people. Cut it down for your purposes. This Soup comes from my Recipes of San Francisco Russian Molokans cookbook that “Dear” and I received as a wedding gift in 1974.


Maloshni Lopsha (Milk noodles)

1-1/2 gallons milk

1 quart half and half

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

1-1/2 “chashki” noodles (about 5 LARGE handfuls)

Using a 2-1/2 gal. double boiler (another good reason to cut the recipe…who has a 2-1/2 gallon double boiler??), heat the milk and half and half till it forms bubbles. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. Now add the salt and sugar and stir well. Start adding the noodles, a handful at a time, stirring often. Simmer gently for 1/2 hour. Turn flame off and cover. Let stand in double boiler till it thickens (about 30-45 min.) and serve.

HT: Recipes of San Francisco Russian Molokans (for Maloshni Lopsha) , Bagdanov Family Recipes for Easy Lopsha