Saturday, October 31, 2009



I had never carved the pumpkin before in my life. My oldest son insisted for a very long time and finally yesterday, the day before the Halloween, we did couple small pumpkins. And I must say, IT IS A LOT OF FUN!!!!

You really need a minimum of tools and a little bit of time. It's not terribly messy and the results are absolutely great!

1. Cut the top off and start to scrape the inside flesh out. Here my son used the tablespoon, but I used some sharp stuff that I owe, like for example my own manicured nails. :)

2. Choose the side which is going to be carved and try to scrape the inside as much as you can to make it approximately 1 inch thick.

3. Pick a design and draw it on the surface of the pumpkin. If you don't trust your drawing skills , then you can draw (or print) it on the paper and trace it by punching the lines with the needle.

4. There are really good tools for sale in the craft shops for carving, but I used the regular crafting knife to cut the surface skin of the pumpkin. It's very sharp, so you have to be very cautious and work always the knife opposite from you.

5. Then I let my son to use a small saw tool to finish the cutting process. He loved sawing. The moments when the first eye popped out, then second were full of happiness and screams. :)

6. Finish the edges with the saw, make them smooth and perhaps it will need some minimal corrections and you will have YOUR HALLOWEEN JACK -O-LANTERN.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


My kids are not big lovers of healthy food and every time when I put into their little tummies something green or yellow makes me very happy. I am trying to hide as much as I can some vegetables into something that considered delicious by my kids. This recipe below is my big success. My sons love cauliflower latkes. My kids eat them thinking that the eat potatoes. You can simply lie (I know, I know...) to them by saying their favorite ingredients. No one will ever guess the original ingredient of this simple dish.


1 cauliflower (the cauliflower is covered by tiny white flowers, look for the white clean cauliflower)
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
black pepper
crushed cumin

You will need a pot with boiling water. Cut the cauliflower into pieces. Boil the cauliflower branches in the water until tender. Drain and put into the food processor. You will have mashed cauliflower. Add salt, pepper, cumin. Add 2 eggs an 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs.Mix it with the fork.

 Let it stand for 5-10 minutes.

 Heat the frying pan with the frying oil. I use two spoons to form the latkes. I take one spoon with the dough and push the dough into the pan with another spoon. Let one side fry and then turn on another.Serve it with ketchup, sour cream or sauce of you choice.

For adults or not picky kids, you can add more interesting spices and make this dish Indian (curry powder, turmeric, coriander) or Italian (parsley, oregano)


Rack of lamb chops.
Salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, cumin and coriander.

Heat your oven 400 F. If the chops are really meaty, I like to beat them with the Meat Tenderizer ( meat hammer), only one side and very light. (Just to make them equal thickness.) Sprinkle little bit of salt, pepper, spices, olive oil. Line you baking tray with foil and put your chops on it. Bake for 20 minute. Open the oven and check for readiness. If the chops are big you might need to turn them and bake for another 5 minutes. Do not overcook. The chops have very delicious and tender meat.

Bonne Appetite!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pictures and video

Guys, I am having technical difficulties and cannot upload the pictures and videos right now. I promise to fix it as soon as possible. You are also more than welcome to write your comments and wishes. If there is any recipe that you would like to see here, I will be more than happy to find it and share it with you.


My son goes to a wonderful Montessori school. They have a great tradition to organize the Oktoberfest in the middle of the October. This year the weather permitted us to have a great outdoor festivities only last weekend. We had a great sharing table for everyone and separate table of the baking goods. I want to share with you three great recipes that always sell first.



1 1/4 cups unbleached flour (I use sometimes organic)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (I just found that I always missed the soda, it was still fine)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup oats (old fashioned or quick doesn't really matter)
1 cup pecans chopped (you can use walnuts)
1 cup dried cranberry (I buy big bag of cranberries in Costco or you can find it NUT store)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chopped (I use semi-sweet Hersheys chocolate chips)
12 tbsp (1 1/2 stick) butter (NOT SALTED)
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz ) light brown or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 350 F

Whisk flour, baking powder, soda, salt. Stir together oats, pecans, cranberries, chocolate chips. In standing mixer mix softened butter till creamy, add sugar slowly, beat until no sugar lumps remain. Scrap sides with spatula. Add egg+vanilla, beat about 30 seconds till fully incorporated. Add flour, mix for 30 seconds. With mixer running add the oat mixture. Mix just until everything is mixed fully and incorporated. Stop the mixer, and go with the spatula for the last mix of the dough. Take tablespoon of the dough, be generous (if you have doubts about how much to take, you can divide dough into 16 equal parts). Wet your hands, take one pat of the dough and shape it into the ball. Place them on the baking sheet 2 1/2 inches apart from each other. Press them slightly and bake for 12 minutes. I usually use two baking sheets and change their positions in the oven in the middle of the time. The cookies will look a little bit goldish brown on the edges and raw in the middle. That's the perfect stage to take them out of the oven and cool them on the baking sheet or 10-15 minutes. They will get harder after fully cooled. Transfer them from the sheets on the wire rack with the wide spatula.


Originally uploaded by tulumba
Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins! We have so many pumpkins this year, that I have to find some delicious recipes for them!


Originally uploaded by tulumba
Fall always brings some sad feelings into my life. But walking around parks and forests awakes the appreciation to this gorgeous season of the year!

Russian Orthodox Fasting or let's eat Vegan.

March 2nd, many Russian Orthodox people will start their 40 days Fast. The Fast is based on strict rules of eating of the Russian Church. I had never been successful to complete 40 days of fasting. It's not a good idea to fast if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or working. This year , I am neither one in those categories. That's why I would like to try again. I also learned many new vegetarian and vegan dishes which would be a great components of my meals.

On the first day of Fast, I bake Bread, made Fasulye salad and rice.


I use breadmaking machine for this recipe. It makes my life so easy!

1 1/2 cups of water
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups of bread flour
2 1/2 tsp. of active yeast

Put all the ingredients onto the breadmaking machine, pick the Medim size and enjoy.

P.S. The bread's texture looked a lot like foccacia, that's why next time I will add some Rosemary and Olive oil.