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Hi there and welcome to Let the Baking Begin, a page where you’ll find beautiful European Cakes and Desserts as well as other savory dishes my Ukrainian family enjoys.

I’ve been cooking since 8 and consistently for the past 12 years. I hope you stick around and check out my online recipe book with my favorite perfected recipes for all things delicious!

Creating things from scratch is my passion, be it an elaborate dessert that requires time and patience or a simple one-pan dish. So go ahead, check it all out, and don’t forget to pin, comment, share and then…cook, bake and create. After all, that is the main reason I’m sharing my recipes with you, I know you were wondering ;).

Initially, this blog was created to share recipes with my friends and family as well as document the recipes I use myself (this was before Pinterest).

Over the years as you guys have been coming here, using my recipes (thank you for that!) and even sharing my website with your friends (oh you have no idea how much I appreciate that as well), my blog’s audience has grown to hundreds of thousands of visitors every month (pinch me, is this for real?).

I am just so blessed to share my passion, share a piece of my soul with each one of you through the recipes and photographs that I create. Your presence here makes me happy and it is what keeps me posting week after week. It would’ve been pretty boring to be doing this just for myself.

If you’d like to read more about me and my family, read below…

About Me:

I am a wife, mother, and a believer in the almighty God. I am a survivor of a nursing program (ha!) and a proud holder of an RN license.

As a teenager, my family moved to the beautifully evergreen northwest of the US from Ukraine and I have lived here ever since. It might rain here more than in other parts of the country, but I will take rain over scorching heat any time of the day 🙂 Plus having the mountains and the ocean 2 hours away from us is pretty awesome too!

Pacific City, Oregon. - it's hard not to appreciate the amazing sunsets at the beach.

Pacific City, Oregon. – it’s hard not to appreciate the amazing sunsets at the beach.

Being raised in a Ukrainian household has greatly influenced the way I cook. Yes, that means tons of dill and sour cream. Dill can make anything taste Ukrainian and by Ukrainian, I mean finger-licking good! Oh and sour cream, wait, I already mentioned sour cream. Never mind. We do put that stuff on everything though.

Growing up in a family where everyone is an amazing cook is a great place to hone your skills and acquire a love for all things food. That and my natural love for cooking and baking made me start early. I was eager to do something ‘grown up’ and my mom was willing to teach me, so by the time I was 10 I was making borsh, vareniki and even piroshki all on my own. They didn’t always come out right at first, but hey it’s the effort that counts, right?

My husband & me on our honeymoon cruise. Circa 2006. Major throwback.

My husband & me on our honeymoon cruise. Circa 2006.

When I got married, having a full kitchen to myself, with all my own kitchen gadgets + the privacy of being able to fail with no one seeing took my cooking and baking passion to a whole new level. I would work my 4 days a week, and every one of those days I would plan on what I was going to cook or bake on my 3 days off. That kind of passion needed an outlet and this is how I found cooking forums, which later led me to start my own blog, first in the Russian blogosphere world and later in the American.

So now, I cook and my husband tests. And tests. And tests. And tests. So far there’s no indication that he plans to quit. I guess for as long as he continues to do his part, I will continue to do mine. And I tell you if there was one thing I could definitely rely on my husband for – it’s to tell me the truth. Sometimes it’s brutal, but it’s the truth.  Any recipe you see on here has passed the brutally honest taste tester and that is saying something!

A while ago I shared some random facts about me on Instagram, so I decided to include them here as well. They are about me after all 🙂 

  • I love to bake. If surviving on dessert alone was possible I would totally try.
  • I came to the US when I was 14 not being able to make 1 sentence in English, but managed to keep a 4.0 all throughout high school until the last semester of senior year when I decided that it didn’t matter anymore. Teenagers are weird…
  • My sister and I are often mistaken for twins even though we’re 2 years apart.
  • I have an unending supply of curiosity which can never be satisfied. Science fascinates me beyond words.
  • List of hobbies that I have taken upon the years include: cross stitch, sewing, knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, small bead bracelet making, baby headband making, scrapbooking, baby shoemaking, cake decorating and baking. The last one is lasting longer than any of the other ones.
  • Often times I will try the same recipe, replacing one ingredient at a time to see how it affects the baked goods. I’m just curious.
  • Becoming a mother was the most fascinating, exciting, exhilarating experience in my life. Nothing else in my life matches the feeling.
Three girls, three treasures

November 2016

  • When we had our second daughter, due to her complicated medical condition we were told that she will most likely spend the rest of her life bedridden, limp, staring at the ceiling and probably not for very long. She is almost 10 now, definitely not limp, definitely not bedridden and definitely not staring at the ceiling. She goes to school, loves to paint, adores her sisters, has a great sense of humor and loves life.

Sept. 2016

  • In 2013 we went to Disney World with our whole family through Make a Wish Foundation. Every single step of our trip seemed to have been orchestrated to make it the most perfect and memorable moment of our lives. If there are angels among us, I think those people were it.

Sept. 2013

  • In October of 2016, we were blessed with our third little surprise blessing, Camilla Mae. Click here to read about her birth story and check out a bunch of her pictures.
Baby Camilla Mae

Oct. 2016

Alrighty now, thank you for stopping by and making it to the end. I hope you enjoyed meeting and learning about me.

Now tell me about yourself. Where are you from and what do you enjoy about my blog? Share away!

Family of five

Oct. 2016

Yours truly,

Marina & the fam

UPD: Nov. 2018


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  • Melody

    I love your blog because the recipes sound so good and do-able .and then I read about you and now it just makes it real -not just the recipes – your beautiful family. I see aLOT of recipes on pinterest and think yeah right . But yours I save. Oh and I was born in Washington and raised back n forth between washington and oregon and guess what? I moved to the hot desert and am happy here . Opposite of you

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  • Helen Ofwono

    How should I use your Sweet dough recipe for making cinnamon rolls? Do I need to divide the dough?, if so, into how many pieces?

    Your recipe sounds wonderful!

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  • Tatyana

    I found you on the pinterest. I notice a lot of familiar recipes so I get interested and I start following you in pinterest, You will maybe ask why familiar because I came myself from Ukraine in 2000 At that time I was 25. I am very enjoying your recipes because like I said they familiar but sometimes has a kind of little twist and I like that very much, I like testing different thing and I like different actually cuisine. Actually I was born in the Uzbekistan, Sometimes I taking ideas from a different cuisines and trying put them together, and sometimes it’s actually coming very well, and other times not so good.
    it’s great you actually sharing Your talent and Passion for cooking with everybody, I am opposite I’m taking recipes from everybody. I am extremely appreciated and I’m looking forward for other great recipes. And I’m hoping God will bless you and all your family .

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    • I appreciate you taking the time to comment and share your feedback, sounds like we have been here in the US for the same amount of time.
      It was nice to “meet” a fellow Ukrainian

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  • Congratulations Marina on your mastery of the English language considering you only came to North America at the ripe old age of 14. Bravo! I wish you and your special daughter all the best. Oscar.

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  • Elizabeth Allen

    I support Ukraine’S FIGHT FIR SOVEREIGNTY, so I am so happy I found your Coconut Candy Recipe today while searching for a Filling for my Original Coconut-Cake Recipe,” Which I’m adapting for my “Coconut Muffins”!!! Someone, I’m surrounded by Unknown People without identities, pretending they are decent when the break-ins And thieveries prove otherwise, I concluded these are Russian-&-Chinese-trained Communist-Totalitarianists here to attack our nation from within along with the human-traffickers-&-kidnappers-&-cult’s-of-Criminals-&-BIRPS-(((Beastiality-Incest-Rape-Pedophile-&-Sadism))), so these hackers-&-plagiarizers Are Breaking Into my phone again and erasing my comments, this is my second-try!!! I have my original “Cream Brioche Recipe” you might like to try out with fully-fresh fillings, and one of my posts today on Facebook is Called, “…..Putin Is Russia’s Abusive Husband” Because Putin is EXACTLY THE PROFILE OF AN ABUSIVE HUSBAND!!! I hope you are well and secure!!! You are a great family and I respect your Rights to choose a life here with your family when you were still a maturing young adult, I WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST!!! Authentically Yours, Elizabeth Allen in TUCSON, Arizona, Yes I relocated from Salem, OR to this deplorably hot place and cannot wait to leave to another hot place after I make it through this next year working toward my spinal surgeries and knee surgeries!!! Wishing you All Blessings, SECURITY, And Good Fortune!!!

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    • Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much for your comment. Ukraine needs all the support it can get, as it’s fighting for it’s survival and freedom.

      I hope the recipe went well and your surgeries are a success. All the best wishes to you!

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