Mandarin Ginger Chicken

The baby displayed a fondness for mandarins! Wonderful!

Naturally, the husband brings home all the mandarins he could get from the farmers market. Wonderful!…

We ate some of them… Juggled with others…  I added a few to the tonight’s dinner, and the citrusy twist made it just perfect.

Here is a yummy 30-minute dinner idea

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  • 3/4 lb chicken breasts or thighs
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbs grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 mandarins, peeled,separated into segments, and cut in half
  • 1.5 cup of assorted vegetables (I had sweet corn, green beans, onions, and sweet peas)


Combine the first 5 ingredients in a zip-lock bag and let marinate in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Chop vegetables, if needed.  Peel the mandarins, separate them into segments and cut each segment in half (I also peeled some skin off).

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a frying pan. Sauté vegetables for about 3 minutes, set aside.

Sauté the chicken on medium-high heat until browned. Turn the chicken over.

Pour the sauce used to marinate chicken in the pan, bring it to a boil.  Add the vegetables and mandarins.  Cover the pan and steam cook for about 2 minutes.

Slice the chicken and serve with the vegetables over brown rice, sprinkle with some red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.

Russian Torte “Mashenka”

Mashenka in Russian is a sweet nickname, derived from Maria.  

My aunt shared this simple torte recipe.  It’s a perfect addition to your family table and goes wonderfully with black tea


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  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs vinegar or lemon juice


  • 300 g sour cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup liquor (I like Kahlua)



Preheat oven to 350 F, grease a deep baking dish.

Mix the first 4 ingredients till smooth.  Pour vinegar over the baking soda.  The reaction will produce foam.  Mix the foam into the batter.

Pour the mixture in the dish, and bake for 35-40 min or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean and dry.

Remove from the dish and let cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the cream, blend sour cream and sugar with a hand mixer till the mixture starts thickening.  Add the liquor and let blend in.

Grind chocolate on a mid-small grinder.


After the cake is cool, carefully cut the sides off and cut the cake into ~ 1/2 inch layers.

Spoon a little bit of sour cream mixture on the bottom of a cake stand.  Place the first layer on it.  Generously layer sour cream mixture on top of the cake.   Place another cake layer on top, repeat with the remaining layers.  Sprinkle the top layer with the chocolate flakes.  Cover the cake and let stand in the fridge overnight for the flavors to blend .


2011 – Reading Favorites

My top 15 reads this year starting with the absolute favorite:

  1. Wuthering Heights  by Emily Bronte
  2. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 
  4. The girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  5. The girl who played with fire by Stieg Larsson
  6. The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest by Stieg Larsson
  7. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
  8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern /Book Club/
  9. Дикая собака динго или повесть о первой любви Фраерман А.
  10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  11. The imperfectionists by Tom Rachman /Book Club/
  12. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  13. The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
  14. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  15. Наедине с океаном Сержио БАМБАРЕН

2011 Instagram Favorites – Lil’ Jem and the fam

In a fruitless attempt of realizing some unfulfilled dream of his, my husband is growing Lil’ Jem’s hair.  He declared himself the sole person responsible for Jem’s Hair Plan.  

Mr. Big Hair Man.  Oh, little did I know that those days would go down in history as “short hair” days…

Watching the penguins at the zoo

100% boy

Non-fat spicy chai tea latte, thank you very much!

It’s always sunny in San Francisco

California Dude

Catching the waves with babushka

The big hair days

Happy Holidays! Na zdarovie!

2011 Instagram Favorites – baby Pea

My baby girl changed so much this year from this little bundle of lovin’ to the cutest toddler on Earth (coming from the most unbiased mother).  I guess this was the year of hats!.. or the year of mostly bold… ;-) Smooching my laptop screen right now!

Baby Pea in her flower hat

Baby Pea in her stocking hat

Baby Pea with a flower

Baby Pea in her brother’s hat

Baby Pea in her car-seat

Baby Pea with Daddy

Baby Pea with pumpkins

Baby Pea after a nap

Toddler Pea – Love of my life

Orange-Cranberry Mini-Scones

There are always scones in my freezer.  If someone stops by unexpectedly, these freshly baked goodies could be served for tea within half an hour.

A neighbor brought us a bag of oranges.  So, I’m tweaking my usual scone recipe a little and getting an amazing orange aroma around the house.

Here is how it’s done.

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, frozen
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • zest of 3 oranges
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg


Preheat oven to 400 F.

By the way, I just stumbled upon this AWESOME tool.  It took me about 30 seconds to zest a whole orange.  

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Grade butter into the mixture. Mix in dried cranberries and orange zest.

Separately whisk egg and sour cream so the egg is fully incorporated.

Combine the dry ingredients with sour cream mixture, mix with your hands to form one solid chunk of dough.

Separate the dough into two equal parts and make balls out of them.  Flatten the balls so that they look like a 1-inch thick pancakes.

Cut into 8 triangles, pizza-slice style.

If freezing, place the scones on a cutting board and store in the freezer.  Move them into a zip-lock back in about 30 minutes.  The scones will hold good for about 2 weeks.  When ready to bake thaw them just as long as the oven is warming up.

Bake 15-17 minutes and cool on a wire rack for additional 5 minutes before serving.


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