Archive | Fun recipes

Baked Green Beans with Walnuts and Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

So this fabulous and super delicious dish that is ready in 20 minutes of baking I literally stole from my close friend ha-ha, she won’t mind. I hovered over the dish when she made it as I realized that I was profusely salivating from the aroma of baked goodness I saw in front of me. So here it is!

All you need:

  • A non-stick flat baking tray
  • Green beans–get the fresh ones, not frozen.
  • Raw walnuts
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Balsamic Raspberry Vinegar (if you don’t have Raspberry you can use ANY kind really…and get the THICK kind not liquid-runny type.
  • Avocado oil or Grape Seed oil

Preparations:

  • Smother the tray with Avocado or Grape seed oil
  • Put the washed, dabbed beans on to the oily tray.
  • Salt and pepper the beans to your liking and with your hands mix them up on that tray to ensure they have all touched the oil well. So you know you put enough oil if your beans are now shiny and oily.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and put the tray with beans there for 20 minutes
  • In the meantime, grind the walnuts in a grinder or a blender

That is IT! After the 20 minutes take out the beans, move them on to a pretty plate; spread the walnuts on the still hot beans evenly for presentation and taste. Lastly, grab the bottle of raspberry vinegar (here we used the one she bought from Leavenworth, WA), and pour the vinegar gently in strips fashion. You can do a zigzag if you want to 🙂

Enjoy now! It is amazing to taste to say the least and a fantastic add-on with any meat or fish!

Grinded walnuts

Grinded walnuts

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Delicious Russian style white cheese “Syrniki”

Hi guys,

I’ve discovered something yummy and fast to make for kids or your second “children”, i.e.–husbands. This is fast, literally under 20 minutes-recipe for fried Syrniki. I only call it the Russian style since I know of no other personally, however, these cheese mini pancakes are made in almost every Eastern European country with a twist here and there.

You WILL need to get THE cheese from the Russian deli or any European deli that is governed by the “enemy lines” :)). No but seriously guys, you will, and the cheese we will need is called in Russian “tvorog” or a special white cheese you will see below. The substitutes don’t really work, such as the Russian style white cheese from Whole Foods or any cottage cheese. The reason is that those ones are too soft and so your Syrniki will fall apart. You will need this white “tvorog” cheese because it has a harder consistency–just what we want.

So be brave dears and head on to the land of From Russia With Love stores and get this guy here:

Tvorog or "Russian white cheese"

Tvorog or “Russian white cheese”

Now, here is what you will need to make 10-13 smaller sized Syrniki

  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 of a cup of flour (plain white)
  • 1 Tvorog (the cheese above)
  • Grape seed oil (you CAN do butter if you want, but it is on your conscious then :)))
  • A non-stick pan
  • A wisk and a fork
  • A medium bowl

That’s it!

Preparation:

  • In a medium bowl break 2 eggs and add sugar and salt, wisk it up well
  • Drop your block of cheese inside the eggy liquid in the bowl
  • With a fork, start pushing and breaking the cheese mixing it with the eggy liquid
  • Add the flower and now continue to fork it in with circular motions to ensure that all the cheese is soaked with the eggs and the flour evenly
  • Warm up the skillet to medium heat, and add oil (the idea is for the Syrniki to sort of float in the oil but not to be submerged in it). So just make sure that the skillet floor has oil everywhere and no empty spots–that is how you will know you have enough oil.
  • Start making a form (I do that with spoons as I show here) from the mixture.
  • Now it WILL look ugly and imperfect because the mixture is super sticky so gently try to lay what you made from one spoon into the heated oil by helping with another to get rid of the rest and push down to flatten the Syrnik.
  • You will see the orange color at the bottom–that is how you know you must now turn them upside down. BE CAREFUL–again, use the spoons to draw each one to the end of the skillet and skillfully flip it over using the sides of the skillet as your support…It will take practice…so be patient, otherwise they will break apart.
  • When both sides are fried they are great to go!
Crushing the white cheese "tvorog" into the eggy wisked liquid

Crushing the white cheese “tvorog” into the eggy wisked liquid

 

Using the spoons help to create a form right before frying

Using the spoons help to create a form right before frying

it is ready to eat!

it is ready to eat!

Syrniki are ready!

Syrniki are ready!

The best thing is that Syrniki can be served as breakfast alone with sour cream and jam, or jam (as shown below here) and condensed milk (HIGHLY recommend it, you are MISSING OUT BIG TIME!!!), or as an addition to your larger brunch as shown in the very top picture.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Delicious Red Veggie Borscht

I’m sure you all heard of the all-famous Russian Borscht. Some of you had tried many different kinds already. After all, borscht comes cold and hot, green and red, yellow and white, and it all depends on what you put in it. Nonetheless, my personal favorite is the no meat, no cabbage kind. As much as I personally think cabbage is great for you, I prefer a soup that will not blow my stomach sideways, hence I also avoid putting beans in it as well for that very reason. What I do love is beets. If you don’t love beets I do NOT understand you ))). Excellent source of folic acid, fiber, vitamins C and full B-complex, as well as other minerals, beets are a must for the borscht in my opinion. They add sweetness to the soup and the beautiful rich burgundy color gives an attractive look to any bowl once served. For more on beets nutritional facts click here.

This is an easy-to-make recipe. You need a few ingredients and voila! These are the portions for a small pot. It will feed 3-4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium beets washed, peeled and chopped (any sized pieces to your liking, but the smaller they are the faster they will soften when in the soup)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped in medium to smaller pieces
  • 3-4 tablespoons of Grape seed oil
  • A hand full of baby carrots or 2 medium graded carrots (you can use a mixer like I did below)
  • One half of a leek, chopped
  • 2 small green onions, chopped in small pieces
  • One half of a cup of tomato juice
  • One half of a small onion chopped in small pieces
  • 2-3 cloves of peeled garlic
  • Dry or fresh chopped dill (a teaspoon full)
  • Salt and pepper to your liking
  • Water (you CAN use chicken stock if you want, but I use water)

Process:

  • If you have a small mixer use it, its easier…finely grade or chop carrots, green onions, leek and half of white onion.
  • Add 3-4 tablespoons of Grape seed oil and put all the above ingredients in to fry in the pot. Stir vigorously and add more oil once the carrots are in because carrots will suck in all of the oil and it will burn if you don’t add anymore…Do not worry, more oil is OK here.
  • After 5 minutes of frying the carrots, onions and a leek, add water into the pot till its 75% full.
  • Now add the chopped beets.
  • Let the mixture come to a boil, then lower the heat till medium-low (4-5 scale). Let it cook for 7 minutes or so. The beets take longer to cook and therefore we put them in first.
  • Then add the chopped potatoes and peeled garlic cloves (you can either cut those in half or just throw them in full). Garlic adds wonderful flavor to the borscht. You do not have to add it if you hate garlic, its ok without it as well.

beautiful color Now it is safe to cover the lid and have the soup cook for another 10 minutes or so.

Add the tomato juice in, salt and pepper your borscht to your liking. The tomato juice adds a bit of a soury flavor.

You will know that it is ready IF the beets are easily pierced through with a knife or a fork. THIS is when you turn the heat off, and add a little bit of dill on top and it is ready to serve!

PS: To wash away the red dye from your hands you had from peeling the beets use first apple cider vinegar. Pour some vinegar in your hand and rub hands in a washing motion as if it was soap. Then rinse with luke warm water and wash your hands with soap over again. This should do the trick.

The borscht is great when served in a bowl, with a tablespoon of sour cream and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, sprinkled with cayenne pepper (this is my personal favorite way) but it is up to you. Enjoy!

borscht is ready!

 

 

 

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Chestnuts and Bok Choy Stir Fry

Chestnut Bok Choy

Chestnut Bok Choy Stir Fry…hmmm…trust me, it is delicious to say the least! If you love the taste of sweet and salty then you will love this easy to make-in-no-time dish! You can find the benefits of Chestnuts here.

You will need:

  • 1 Box of peeled and cooked chestnuts
  • 1 half of white sweet (or a plain yellow) onion diced in any way you like (I prefer the large half circles only because I LOVE sautéed or fried onions so this one is up to you)
  • 2-3 small-medium Bok Choy
  • 3-5 tablespoons of grape seed oil
  • Salt and pepper to your liking (I add cayenne for spicier kick)
  • 1 tablespoon of Sweet Chili Sauce (you can do the Grama’s brand)
  • A non-stick skillet

Preparations:

  • In a pre-heated (medium to high) heat, add 4-5 tablespoons of grape seed oil and fry up the pre-cut white onion’s halves until they start to golden
  • Add the peeled and cooked chestnuts after you have cut them to your liking
  • Continue to fry and stir the chestnuts and onions together, you might need to add a tiny bit more oil
  • After you cut off the butts from the Bok Choy, wash the leaves and add to the skillet
  • Stir vigorously until the Bok Choy leaves begin to soften (1-2 min max)
  • Add salt and pepper to your liking
  • Add 1 tablespoon of sweet chili sauce (if you like) and stir
  • Turn off the heat. Done!

It is ready to serve! Enjoy! Goes great with beef, chicken and some couscous.

frying the onion

Chestnut Bok Choy

 

So how do you Bok Choy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Foods That Will Age You

I know we all want to be healthy and stay looking young. I believe in my heart that the key to those desires lie in staying active and eating good foods. The foods that are not only good for your soul but for the body as well are important because there are foods out there which can age us. For example, bacon. While bacon is loved by almost every other person you know, it is considered processed meat, and eating processed meats in excess can not only age you but cause harm to our bodies.

Check out an article I wrote for LifeHack.org on 5 Foods Which Can Make Us Older than We Are:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/5-foods-which-can-make-you-look-and-feel-older-than-you-are.html

I hope you enjoy the read!

 

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Easy prep veggie soup

Sometimes you just want a yummy veggie soup that takes no hassle but chopping the veggies and throwing them to boil. There are a ton of variations, but here is a fast delicious soup you can make in less than thirty minutes, including preparation time.

You need: (the amounts depend on the size of your pot, but the below dosage should feed about five to six people using a medium sized pot)

  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • Celery (one stalk)
  • 2 medium sized (any) potatoes (you can do purple or sweet potatoes also if you want)
  • 2 Chicken or a veggie stocks (whatever you like, just make sure it is a low sodium kind) I get the organic ones, they’re under $2 per package usually
  • 1 stalk of broccoli
  • 2 Zucchinis
  • Half a cup of barley (you can do either brown rice, quinoa, pasta, honestly whatever you please, all good!)
  • Fresh dill
  • Cilantro (if you hate it you can do a soup without it)
  • 4 fresh garlic cloves

That’s it!

Start by getting the veggie or chicken stock to boil, add salt and pepper to your liking. It’s best to under-salt something than to over-salt it, so slightly salted is ok–you can always add more once the veggies will be boiled through.

Chop all the veggies (in whatever pieces you like really doesn’t matter). Add carrots first and barley to your pot. This is because carrots and barley from our ingredient list will take the longest to cook through, so I add them first even if my stock had not yet boiled. Do that especially if you are throwing brown rice in since that takes the longest to cook.

Five minutes post boiling, put the pot to medium heat, add celery, zucchini, four garlic cloves (you can either chop the garlic or throw the cloves whole, I like mine in halves), broccoli and potatoes in to the pot. Stir it up a little and half-cover the pot with the lid.

After ten minutes of cooking, try with the knife if the carrots are soft yet and the potatoes. The minute the carrots are soft–that is the indicator that your soup is ready! If you chose to throw in rice, then you might need to add a little bit of boiled water from a kettle. Adding a bit more water also depends on if you like your soup thin on liquid or not. Hence, add the water if needed, and THEN taste to see if more salt is required. Turn off the heat. Add cut dill and cilantro, and cover the pot with the lid.

PS: I LOVE to add a tablespoon of vinegar and some cayenne pepper to my personal bowl of soup. Try it–you’ll love it too!

Enjoy!

chopped carrots, garlic and celery

chopped carrots and celery

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When in doubt–Kale it out!

Kale is a bittersweet leafy green that has gained its popularity years ago with the organic and the eat-clean revolutions. There are just too many benefits of this green to ignore. Though it does not taste like the familiar lettuce, it does your body triple the good than most greens out there.

For starters, Kale is loaded with vitamins K (bone health & blood clot prevention), A (vision), and C (immune system & metabolism). It has a ton of calcium in it, as a matter of fact more than in milk, if not triple that. It is iron packed, by calorie more than your piece of steak. Choose kale because it has zero fat so by default you will feel great about yourself knowing it will only do your body good. Need fiber? -Go kale, need low calories? -Kale, regulate cholesterol? -Kale!

There are just too many pros here. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, squeeze some lemon, drop of salt, add blueberries, dried cranberries and feta to start off with a healthy dosage of antioxidants–yes, that too to add to ALL the things Kale has to offer. So start loving the leafs your body needs. Choose kale and you will never go wrong so long as you don’t start adding ranch and other high fat/high calorie dressings–that is a big no-no! Get used to the tastes of healthy and that will turn into hearty soon.

Go Kale!

For even more fabulous information about Kale view here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/30/kale-facts-nutrition-info_n_3671210.html

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The Lazy Stroganoff

Be careful, you might become addicted! Ok, now that the warning is out the rest is at your risk :)) This quick 15 minute Lazy Stroganoff recipe is so easy to make that you will wow your friends at the table who will think that this was ordered from a high-end venue. Here is your Lazy Stroganoff:

You need:

  • 1 pack (feeds four) of chicken breast tenders
  • Salt, cayenne pepper (or black to your liking)
  • Grape seed oil (I like it, you’re welcome to use whatever you cook with but avoid Extra virgin olive oil or any oils that can smell up your meats)
  • A pack of sour cream (any, it can be non, or low fat kind)
  • A sweet chili sauce (try organic kinds, they have less chemicals in them)
  • A non-stick skillet

That’s it! So start by cutting the breast tenders across making 1-inch cubes. Heat up the oil in the skillet medium to higher heat (not high, just more than medium, if a scale is 1-10 plus it on 7). Salt and pepper your cubed chicken pieces and put them to fry on the skillet. Toss the chicken well; you do not need to cover the skillet. Let it fry enough to where the chicken starts to gain brown coloring but is not looking super fried or dry. Push on the pieces gently with a spatula or a flat utensil so the meat would release some of the retained juices or water.

As soon as the chicken is turning golden brown dump 2 large utensil spoon sized dosages of sour cream. Stir well and right away bring the heat down to 2 (low heat). Make sure that the chicken pieces are somewhat swimming in the goodness of sour cream (if they aren’t, then add another spoon, YEP, just like that!). Add about 3 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce to the sautéed chicken in sour cream, stir and close the lid.

Leave the chicken meat simmer and soak all the sour cream-sweet chili sauce goodness for 7 minutes on that low heat with a covered lid. Un-do the lid and serve!! DE-LI-CI-OUS!!!

Sour cream & sweet chili sauce sauté. Now close the lid!

Lazy Stroganoff served with bok choy rice, cranberry & nuts pilaf

Lazy Stroganoff served with bok choy rice & nuts pilaf

 

 

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The goodness of green beans

Do you love a quick great recipe? So do I, and I wanted to share with you how easy and delicious it is to make plain green beans and turn the dish into a restaurant looking masterpiece.

All you need here is:

  • A non-stick skillet
  • 1 package of refrigerated or frozen green beans
  • Grape seed oil
  • Organic mushroom or plain Marinara sauce (chunky tomato kind is ok)
  • Salt, cayenne pepper (or black to you liking)
  • Organic white wine vinegar (I like the Napoleon brand)
  • Fresh garlic (to your liking) the dish is great with or without garlic, it is a matter of your taste here and your personal love affair with Mr. Garlic 🙂

Cut the butts from the beans both front and back. If you did get frozen kind then make sure to get the ones that have the butts cut off already (usually it will show on the package). Or leave them to thaw for half hour prior to preparation. I put the package in a large bowl of water and the job is usually done there.

Green Beans un-cut

Un-cut beans

Cut beans (without the butts)

Cut beans (without the butts)

If your beans were frozen and you had zero time to thaw them prior, then throw them on a heated skillet with no oil, pour a cup of water on them (or 2 cups depending on the size of the package you are preparing), and cover the skillet. In about 6-7 minutes they will soften pretty well and you can continue to toss them so they start turning brighter green color. Once the water is almost gone that is when you will add some grape seed oil. If your beans look green and not stiff and you still have a ton of water left in the skillet just pour it out.

If your beans were not frozen, wash them and place wet on a heated skillet. Now, add some grape seed oil (you don’t need too much oil, I measure by eye, but I’d say it is about 3-4 table spoons). The beans should not swim in the oil if that makes sense 🙂

Fry on medium-high heat with a covered lid, turning the beans gently every 5 minutes or so. PS: This is where you can add garlic if you want. You can chop some fresh garlic over the beans it will be a fantastic dish as well. Warning: you may not be able to kiss your significant other after you eat the garlic kind 🙂

5 minutes into cooking

5 minutes into cooking

Add salt and pepper to your liking. You can add some herbal seasoning if you like as well.  Once the beans start to look like they have soaked a fair share of oil (in about 7-10 min max) then remove the lid and continue to fry the beans until they start turning somewhat brown on either sides. They key here is to continue to gently stir to avoid the burn.

10 minutes into cooking soaking up the oil

10 minutes into cooking

As soon as you see the beans are looking fried, add marinara. You can add 5 large scoops. I like my beans to swim in it a little. Toss them up, ensuring that marinara touched up every bean. Add 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, toss, and turn off your skillet!

These beans look gorgeous with a piece of fish, chicken or any red meat. Grab a glass of white wine for the first two or your favorite red for meat and off you go! The goodness of green beans!

Final product!

Final product!

Ta-da!

 

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The truth about all things Soy

While we are constantly fed with the diversions about what we should and should not eat by the mainstream food giants, we must also do some adequate research on things that we truly love to eat. We know, or have been told that soy products are “good for you”, but should you continue its consumption? Is the soy in US straight a GMO? There has been enough bad rep about soy being the bad guy. Hence, let us find out what the deal is here! The truth about all things Soy!

http://authoritynutrition.com/is-soy-bad-for-you-or-good/

 

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