Russian Friday – Buckwheat Breakfast

When I was a kid each serving of buckwheat was paired with a motivational speech from my parents: “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to be 100 years old!” What they were probably thinking was “Tolstoy ate this every day, and he lived to write ‘War and Peace’!”

Well, I don’t know about 100 years old or even 82 (which is more accurate); but their aspirations came true! Look at me! I’m a blogger who writes in simple English with a heavy Russian accent about once a month, and 200 people liked me on Facebook! Tolstoy in the making!Buckwheat_Breakfast_WM-6

So, parents, tell your children, that there is this Russian mom, who ate buckwheat.. Wait, actually, I’d stick with the Tolstoy story, because this grain is really good for them, and “War and Peace” is one of the best books ever written!

Russian Friday – Buckwheat Breakfast

From While Chasing Kids | Breakfast and Brunch | Russian

This is an excellent make-ahead breakfast. Start it in a rice maker before you go to bed, or refrigerate freshly cooked buckwheat in an air-tight container. All you need to do is spoon some in a bowl and pour milk over it in the morning.


Low cal Calories 97kcal

Low fat Total Fat 1g

sat-fat Free Saturated Fat 0g

chol Free Cholesterol 0mg

sodium Sodium 197mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 20g

Serving size 108g Calories from fat 9kcal Fiber 3g Protein 4g Sugar 0g
6 servings


  • 1 cup buckwheat, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Pick and rinse buckwheat. Place all ingredients in a rice maker and cook on a white rice setting.


  • Serve with cold or warm milk for breakfast


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My kids look nothing like me. The daughter would probably even fail our DNA test. My mom comforts me that her ears look like mine.  Ears!?  Really!? Well, I don’t know about ears, but we surely have one thing in common: our love for carbs.

Here is a beautiful dish we both enjoy. Mix the batter the night before, and an easy breakfast is ready to be made in the morning. 

/Adopted from

Print this recipe


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 3 cup warm milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm milk. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the warm milk and the melted butter. Mix in the yeast mixture, sugar, syrup, salt and vanilla. Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk alternately with the flour. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Make ahead: place the batter and covered egg whites in the fridge overnight.  Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking the waffles.

If baking right away, let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks; fold into the batter.

Preheat the waffle iron (I bought mine at Williams-Sonoma). Spray with oil and spoon about 1/2 cup onto center of iron. Close the lid and bake until it stops steaming and the waffle is golden brown. Serve immediately or keep warm in 200 degree oven.

Crunchy Granola

A stay-at-home mom with the most contagious smile I’ve ever seen, who lives on our block, made a New Year resolution she won’t regret.  She decided to hang out with the neighbors more.  It’s understandable, we are pretty awesome…  I was so excited I got a new friend!  She loves pastries, and I love to bake!  She has a cleaning lady, I hate cleaning too!  Our daughters bonded over a puddle by our house right away!  It was meant to be!

Imagine my surprise when the husband disapproved of the relationship! Apparently she is a bad influence.   He is afraid she’ll corrupt me with all the cleaning lady business!   

I married an exploiter!  He doesn’t deserve this healthy and delicious breakfast! Not one little bit!

Well, unless he buys my dream KitchenAid of course.  Wink-wink! Honey! It’s finally on sale!!!

Print this recipe



  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
  • 4 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • ¼ tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • ½ cup raisins


Preheat the oven to 325⁰ F / 170⁰ C.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix all the ingredients but raisins and lay flat on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes.  Mix the raisins in.  Voilà! 

It’s been quiet here, as I’ve been planning a huge birthday party for my now 3 year old, playing a hostess to my father-in-law, and trying to finally finish this book… while chasing the kids, of course.

I’m finally done with the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.  My old flight instructor in Paradise Valley, Montana told me about his grandson who wrote a book about a dragon, and when I stumbled upon it in Borders I couldn’t resist.  That was years ago.  The 4th and final book was recently published.  I was pretty excited, but it just seemed to be dragging on forever!  May be I finally got too old for dragon books.  May be they got too bloody for me, but it just wouldn’t click…  So, this week I decided to get over and done with it for good!  

You know how iPhones have this new feature where they color-code SMS blue or green if it was sent via special iPhone network or as a usual text message.  As a user I really don’t care as long as my message was received.  Same was with this book.  There were too many runes neither Eragon nor I comprehended, too many doors that shouldn’t have been opened…   Nevertheless, I love Christopher’s language.  It’s reach and beautiful, and even this Russian, gets mesmerized by it! So, if he writes another book, I will give it a try.

Hustle-Free Whole Grain Breakfast

My baby is turning three this weekend. Sniff-sniff…

A couple presents from our friends arrived while he was napping today. One of them is this adorable Responsibility Chart. It includes cute little magnetic goals (such as “Load Dishwasher”, “Set Table”, “Make Bed”, or “Take Out Trash”) and little magnetic scores ( “You did it!”, “Looking Good!”, etc.) .  Ohm, I was so tempted to re-gift it to my husband, and then I turned the board around, and found even more goals: “Take a bath”, “Stop Whining”, “Say Please and Thank You”… It’s settled – the board is going to the husband, not the child! Sorry, guys!

Anyways, this friend who sent us the gifts should be the one writing a cooking blog. She can make gasoline taste good; and since they had a baby, she took the whole “healthy eating” concept up a level!.. or two… or three… nah, more like twenty levels…
So, today’s recipe is inspired by her. All my kids (including the husband) love it!

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  • 1 cup of whole grain steel cut oatmeal (such as Bob’s Red Mill Organic)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)


Place all ingredients (minus milk) in a crock-pot or an oven-proof cast-iron pot.  I like to add cold milk right before serving (to quickly chill the oatmeal).

Set the crock-pot to cook on low or place the cast-iron pot into the oven, preheated to 175° F/80° C for 8 hours.

If desired, replace sugar with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon, add nuts, and/or your favorite dried or fresh fruit.

Farmers Cheese Pancakes

Oh… I’m hurt!  Yesterday morning some wise guy hinted I should take better care of myself!  How rude! So, instead of chasing the kids, I loaded them into our duallie BOB and spent an hour chasing my dreams… of getting back in shape.

Thanks a lot, Miro, your poem was truly inspiring and I feel good about myself even though I cannot move my limbs!      

For tolerating mommy’s slow jogging, the kids were rewarded with farmers cheese pancakes.  There are tons of variations of this recipe, and my favorite one is actually soft and savory, with semolina.  But the kids prefer this sweet stuff.  Who would have expected THAT!? If you haven’t seen farmers cheese in your usual supermarket, you can always find in European grocery stores (or you can make it yourself).

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  • 425 g farmers cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbs sugar

Yields about 20 small pancakes


Combine all ingredients and mix together with a fork.  Once everything is incorporated, make pancakes with your hands.  Shape pieces of dough into golf-ball sized balls, and then flatten with your palms.

Preheat the frying pan and grease it with oil.

Bake the pancakes till golden brown on each side on mid-low heat, covered.

Traditionally served with sour cream, honey, or jam.

Homemade Yogurt

I guess it’s my own fault.  I don’t know why, but I listened to that woman again.  I’m talking about my mother, of course, whose topmost culinary achievement is microwaved oatmeal…  Somehow she convinced me to buy a yogurt maker.  Little did I know that her version of “extremely easy to make and absolutely delicious” yogurt looks like buttermilk and has utterly tart flavor.

For some time I thought that whatever we save on not buying commercial yogurt we are going to spend on psychiatrist fees, since I was going mad trying to play with temperatures, processing times, and ingredients in order to produce an eatable substance  with a nice thick texture that my household loves.

Finally my yogurt is up to par with our favorite brands, and I can proudly share the recipe with you!  This one is for my EuroCuisine yogurt maker that uses about 1 QT of milk and has 7 individual jars. 

Print this recipe



  • 1 qt milk (you can choose any milk you like from fat-free to whole)
  • 1 pckg yogurt starter
  • 7 tbs dry milk
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup



Pour milk into a medium-size saucepan and turn the heat to low.  Warm up the milk to 180⁰ F (approx.  80⁰C), steering to avoid burning.   On my small gas burner it takes about 15 minutes.

Immediately take the milk off the gas and chill to 110⁰ F (approx. 40⁰ C).  The process could be expedited if you place the saucepan into a bigger dish filled with ice cubes.

Meanwhile, measure the other ingredients, and turn on the yogurt maker to warm it up.

Once the milk reaches 110⁰ F (approx. 40⁰ C), pour about 1/3 of it into a mixing bowl.  Whisk in the yogurt starter.  Once yogurt starter is dissolved, whisk in dry milk.  Mix in vanilla and maple syrup.

Pour the mixture into the remaining milk through a fine strainer.  Mix to incorporate and pour into the yogurt jars.  Place the open jars in the yogurt maker and cover them with the top.

Let process for about 7 hours or until your yogurt reaches desired consistency.

Turn the yogurt maker off.  Remove the jars and cover them with individual lids.  Immediately place your yogurt into the fridge in order to stop the fermentation.

NOTES: If you read the directions above, yogurt recipe actually is “extremely easy”.  However, it does require attention.  The higher the temperatures – the more acidic the flavor, same goes for longer processing times.  We were trying to make yogurt based on the Gottschall’s recipes from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  Her version requires at least 24 hours of processing time in order to kill all lactose.  The end result was so tart, it even smelled sour.  We could only use it as a flavor enhancer for soups and such.  Also, fortifying yogurt with dry milk gives you a more nutritious product, though it makes it much thicker.  We like it thick, so it works for us, but the yogurt will still taste good without it.


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