Gifts From My Kitchen – Orange Marmalade

I changed the water in our fish tank. The new water level happened to be noticeably lower. Who knew that my 5-year old would have a surprise of his life!

“Mommy! Mommy! Come here! Look! Nemo drank all his water!”

 Orange_Marmalade_WM-5 (2)

Here is a recipe that, to my surprise, requires a bit of H2O. With so much citrus in the market, the timing is perfect for some marmalade.

Orange Marmalade

From While Chasing Kids | Condiments and Sauces | American

Makes a great gift from your kitchen.


High cal Calories 666kcal

fat Free Total Fat 0g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

Low sodium Sodium 8mg

High carbs Total Carbohydrate 172g

Serving size 406g Calories from fat 1kcal Fiber 3g Protein 1g Sugar 169g
10 servings


  • 6-8 medium oranges
  • 2 large lemons
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 8 cups granulated sugar


  1. Prepare oranges
  2. 24 hours before you plan to cook and preserve them.
  3. Wash and dry them. Cut out the stem ends. Cut each fruit into quarters and pick all the seeds out, reserving the seeds. Using mandoline cut all the orange quarters into thin slices. Place the slices into a large pot and submerge them in cold water. Cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. This will release the pectin.
  4. Sterilize the jars
  5. Either put them in hot wash dishwasher cycle so that they are clean and hot by the time you use them, or dunk them in boiling water and keep them hot.
  6. Sterilize the lids
  7. Boil the tops in a small pan filled with enough water to cover the lids, keep them hot till needed.
  8. Prepare for canning
  9. Bring to boil a large pot of water. There should be enough water to completely submerge the jars and have about an inch of water on top of them.
  10. Make the marmalade
  11. Place saved seeds in a cheesecloth, tie it up and place in the pot with oranges. Bring the pot to boil and set the burner temperature so that the mixture boils without splattering. Boil for about 30 minutes.
  12. Add sugar to the fruit mixture to stir until dissolved. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes until the marmalade thickens to the gel consistency (about 220°F/ 104°C). Remove the cheesecloth.
  13. Jar the marmalade
  14. Carefully remove the hot jar and fill it with the jam using a canning funnel, leaving at least a ¼ inch space between the marmalade and the edge of the jar. With a clean wet towel remove any excess marmalade from the edge of the jar. Using a magnetic lid lifter remove the lid from boiling water, and place it on top of the jar. Secure the lid. Repeat with the remaining marmalade.
  15. Using the jar lifter, carefully place the lidded jars in the large pot of boiling water; make sure they are completely submerged. Boil for about 10 minutes.
  16. Remove the hot jars using the jar lifter, and place them on a towel. Let cool completely before labeling. Make sure the lid tops are not popping in the center. If they are, they should be removed and re-sealed (same process – wash and sterilize the jar and a lid, bring the marmalade to boil, and re-can it. It’s very important that the edge of the jar is clean.
  17. Store in a dark chilled place for up to 1 year.


  • Makes ten 1/2-pint jars


Almond Peach Galette

Deep and reflective conversations at the kitchen table.



“Mom, is daddy going to be a pirate now?”

“Hmmmm… I don’t think so… Why?”

“Well, he doesn’t have his teeth anymore.”

Aha! daddy had a wisdom teeth removal surgery a couple weeks ago. Trying hard not to laugh, “No, honey.  Those were special teeth – only VERY smart people get them.”

“I am very smart!”

“Yes, you are… Correction: very smart and OLD people get them!”

“Oh… Did daddy have teeth when he was a baby?”

“Hmm… No…”



This is a recipe for becoming a pirate, because I’m sure it’s not so good for your teeth. For the crust I used half of the flaky pie dough recipe. Enjoy!



Almond Peach Galette

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

Almonds and peaches are meant to be together. The combination of flavors is irresistible. Don’t like a soggy crust? Here is my little secret: coat the crust with a thin layer of almond paste. Yum!

cal Calories 121kcal

fat Total Fat 4g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Cholesterol 19mg

Low sodium Sodium 8mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 21g

Serving size 73g Calories from fat 33kcal Fiber 1g Protein 2g Sugar 17g
10 servings


  • Filling
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 large peaches peeled, halved, pitted, and cut into ¼ to 1/2inchthick wedges
  • 3.5 oz almond paste
  • 1 tbs sliced almonds
  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • A pinch of raw sugar for sprinkling


  1. Prepare the dough as directed in the Flaky Pie Dough recipe up to step 5.
  2. Position a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a pizza peel with a sheet of parchment paper and lightly sprinkle it with flour.
  3. Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon together. Sprinkle the mixture over the peach wedges. Toss the peaches gently to evenly coat. Set aside.
  4. Make egg wash: beat up the egg with water.
  5. Position almond paste between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll the paste into a thin disk.
  6. Lightly flour the work surface and roll the refrigerated dough into a 1/8-inch-thick disk. Transfer the disk to the floured parchment paper.
  7. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap of the rolled almond paste. Place the disk in the center of the dough.
  8. Line the peaches on the galette, leaving a 1 inch rim. Fold the edges. Brush the edges with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Sprinkle almonds over the peaches.
  9. Carefully slide the galette with the parchment paper on a pizza stone and bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.


  • Rolling the dough and assembling the galette should be done as fast as possible. You want to keep the dough cool for flakier crust.


P.S. Husband, you are not old!!! I know you were carded at the grocery store last week!

P.P.S. If you are wondering what lack of teeth has to do with pirates, and if you happened to have a 2-5 year old running around – “How I became a pirate” by Melinda Long has the answer!

Gifts From My Kitchen – Pickled Cherries

I was giving a ride to my 4 year old son and a couple of 11 year-olds to their zoo camp. The older kids and I were discussing jobs for teenagers. Zoo teacher’s assistant seemed liked a cool option.


“Much better than working at a McDonalds,” I voiced my opinion.

“No, mommy!” said my son, laughing at me, like I said something very silly, “I love McDonalds!”

“Do you? Have you ever been to McDonalds?” I asked ready to have a serious talk with my husband…

“Of course, mommy,” and he started singing, “Old McDonald had a farm EE-I-EE-I-O!”2013_May_CherryFarm-18


We have taken the kids to a farm. A cherry orchard, to be exact. Here is what came out of it.

Pickled Cherries

From While Chasing Kids | Condiments and Sauces | American

This is a perfect gift from your kitchen, which would be an excellent addition to many savory hot dishes


cal Calories 328kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

Low sodium Sodium 7mg

High carbs Total Carbohydrate 79g

Serving size 401g Calories from fat 5kcal Fiber 4g Protein 2g Sugar 72g
4 servings


  • 1.5 lbs fresh dark cherries
  • 3 stems fresh rosemary
  • 2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbl allspice
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 fresh bay leaves


  1. 1.Sterilize the jars.
  2. 2.Wash the cherries and pat dry. Snip the stem ends leaving ¾ inch intact. Prick each cherry in several places with a toothpick. Fill the jars with cherries.
  3. 3.Divide rosemary between the jars.
  4. 4.Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, allspice, anise and bay leaves in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Boil the liquid for 1 min and remove from heat.
  5. 5.Fill the jars with hot pickling liquid leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal with lids. Cool at the room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks

For free canning labels and gift notes go here.

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Things To Do With Kids – Traveling

Last month my children landed in Moscow wearing a perfect shade of San Francisco Pale on their skins. These city kids were raised where outside requires constant adult supervision, they had only minor encounters with nice weather, and were yet to experience a water or electricity outage.



In 3 weeks they were completely transformed into tan Russian-speaking sun-loving kids who had a bite of freedom and lots of bites of freshly grown produce right outside of their great- grandmother’s house!


Their only swimming experience up till now was in a heated pool. I don’t quite get it, but apparently swimming in a river with cousins, fish, ducks and frogs is much more fun!


Grandma’s garden was an endless source of entertainment and nourishment. Apples, cherries, currant, strawberries – and that’s just the begging of the list. The kids had a blast playing in all this lusciousness!



They even found it cool to be washed outside with water heated up by sun.


Though, you should have seen my son’s excitement when he got back home and went to the bathroom: “Есть вода!” (The water is on)! Hmmmm….


Here are some Instagram favorites from the trip. Enjoy!

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Plum Pie


This report has been brought to you from a special place where we had no internet, only 2 and a half TV channels, intermediate phone service, and issues with water pressure… Yet, the 3 weeks we spent there are beating all the awesomeness charts!  In June I gulped a can of courage pills, loaded my 4 and 2 year-olds on an airplane, waved bye bye to the husband, and took the kids on a 30-something hour trip to my homeland!

So, here are some shots and recipes from our visit to Russia, where my children were running in my grandmother’s garden, in the house where my mother was born, where I spent so many happy days, and where you don’t need special photo props to give recipes a hint of old country.






My son met my babushka, godmother, and two aunts. All these ladies were introduced to him as babas. One evening I asked him, “Who do you love?”

“Mommy, daddy, Pea, baba… [silence] … baba …. Baba…. Baba… baba…. Baba…. “




Flaky Pie Dough

Hello from CA (and I mean Carboholics Anonymous, not the state)! I must admit, this Russian mom fell off the wagon again with a crazy week-long baking spree. Why? Because she finally nailed the perfect pie crust recipe. I know, disastrous  right?!   


To top that, it’s rhubarb season in CA (the state). So, I think you can guess what I’ve been up to! There is a rhubarb pie bubbling in the oven right now… ohm… my 3rd this week. 

The rhubarb pie recipe (my new favorite, can’t you tell!?) is to follow in a later post (once my hands stop shaking from all that sugar, and I take some photos). Here is everything on how to make the flaky pie dough I’m so much in love with!


Flaky Pie Dough

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

This doesn’t just make a fabulous crust; it also is very easy to remember. The flour to butter to water ratio is 3 to 2 to 1. Add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt for each 100 grams of flour and you got yourself The Perfect Dough! This recipe yields two 9 inch pie shells.


cal Calories 158kcal

fat Total Fat 10g

High sat-fat Saturated Fat 6g

chol Cholesterol 27mg

sodium Sodium 199mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 14g

Serving size 38g Calories from fat 93kcal Fiber 1g Protein 2g Sugar 0g
16 servings


  • 300 g all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g butter
  • 100 ml water


  1. Measure water, dissolve salt in it, and place it in the fridge
  2. Cut butter into pea-sized cubes and place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  3. To make the dough combine cold butter and flour and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Slowly add cold water and pulse again for several seconds until the dough begins to come together in a ball but not completely smooth. There still will be butter chunks. If needed, finish kneading with your hands until the dough forms into a ball (try to handle the dough as little as possible).
  5. Separate the dough into disks, 1-inch thick. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  6. Roll disks on floured surface one at a time to 1/8 inch thick. Carefully line the baking dish with the dough, overlapping about ½ inch (the dough will shrink during baking)
  7. For recipes that call for uncooked shell, refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. For baked shells, preheat oven to 375⁰F/190⁰C. Line the shells with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (I use dry beans). For partially baked shells, bake for about 20 minutes, remove weights. Carefully poke with a fork the dough if it bubbled during the baking. Bake for another couple more minutes. For a fully baked shell, bake for about 25 minutes till light brown. Remove the weights, poke the dough, and bake for another 5 minutes till the dough is golden brown.
  9. Let the shells cool completely on wire racks before filling.


  • The dough could be made a day in advance and refrigerated. Cooked shells will keep for up to a week in the fridge, or for up to two weeks in the freezer.