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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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  • Pam Martin

    I just discovered your lovely food site on Pinterest. You inspire me to want to cook.
    God Bless You!

    · Reply
  • Tammy Baker

    I love that your a nurse and Baker! I’m currently doing the bridge program from MA to BSN myself, while working as a pediatric MA and complex scheduler for pediatric pre/post heart and pediatric post liver and kidney patients. I also have a side bakery business too. My question is can your sponge cake be frozen and how long will they last in the freezer? Also what is the best way to wrap your sponge cake to jkeep of from getting freezer burn?

    · Reply
    • Wow! Love to see how similar you’re in your interests to mine 😀 Sounds like you’re juggling quite a bit of stuff! Good luck with your program.

      Yes, the sponge cake can be frozen. Just make sure to cool it completely, then wrap it tightly with plastic and freezer. I wouldn’t freeze it for more than a couple of weeks though to prevent freezer burn.

      · Reply
  • Marina T.

    Greetings from sunny Florida!

    I was browsing an internet for some recipes and I found your awesome site! Everything looks so scrumptious 🙂 I admire your love for God, family and cooking.

    While I was reading your life story, I found some interesting similarities. My name is Marina too, I moved to Oregon from Kherson, Ukraine, got married in 2006, have 3 daughters (and 3 older sons), had my LPN license, enjoy baking and cake decorating, but most important of all, we share a love for God!!!!

    I baked your Dulce de Leche cake, and it was amazing! I have a long list of other recipes that I would like to try. Thank you for sharing the recipes!

    Prayers for peace in Ukraine!

    · Reply
    • Welcome, Marina! So nice to meet you and hear your story. So many similarities with my life, I love it!
      I hope you get to try many other recipes that you’ll love as much as our family has!

      May peace come to Ukrainian land and people soon!

      · Reply
  • Allan Randell

    I am impressed by your belief in God and family and your accomplishments, amazing family photos. Beautiful family and thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes with us

    · Reply
  • Debra

    So glad that I found you Marina, now I “get it” as to why I want to put sour cream on everything…! LOL. Yes I am of Ukrainian heritage, a Lemko. I just found you because of I was looking for Perogies. I am a retired makeup artist in Florida but orginally came from a farm in Pittsburgh PA. I had visited Oregon and it is a beautiful place.

    But of course you had to do cross-stitch because of you saw the Rushnyk towels in your mom’s house, like I saw them all over my Granny’s and Aunts. Now in my retirement I am starting to cross-stitch my Rushnyk towels and learning to cook better.My husband was the better cook, he was a pizza man when I met him. Since retiring from makeup (I am 64 and a diabetic it’s tuff for me to stand for hours and do the makeup for actors) I am turning to my other loves-sewing and make costumes for folks at the Rennassance fairs here in Florida, and learning to cook better. The husband and I have a competion as to who can cook better now!

    So good that you became a nurse, this way you can take good care of your babies, especially the one with medical issues. Now I will also try to make your borsch since I had never had that. For some reason my female relative on the farm never made it…! And I also want to learn how to make Ukrainian recipes that are low carb. Thing is…..I have to use low-carb flours to bake with because of diabetes so it will be a science experiment for me! Slava Ukrainie forever!

    · Reply
  • Sarah

    May Ukrainians prevail over this violent Russian invasion.

    · Reply
  • Adele Fern

    Hi Marina,

    I have randomly come across your website and I’m in awe of how amazing all your cakes look! Can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

    Warm regards from New Zealand 🙂

    · Reply
  • Stael de lopez

    Marina I just read your scampi recipe and your life history. I’m from Bogotá,Colombia and I admire you . you are a brave girl and a wonderful cook. God bless you

    · Reply
  • Danni

    Hi Marina! I was wondering what you would suggest using to transport ducle de leche cake? Is it as “soaked” as a tres leches cake where putting it in a standard cake box would be a bad idea? Would a plastic tray with dome be a better option?

    · Reply
    • Hi Danni,
      this will not be as soggy as a tres leches cake. I just put it on a cake board for transport and it goes well. As long as the cake is sitting on level surface during transport and there’s not a lot of jerking during, it should be ok.

      · Reply
  • Monica

    Hello! I was wondering if you have a good egg bagel version of your bagel recipe? I like that you use diastatic malt powder – and I’m hoping to make egg bagels for a change. I know there are other egg bagel recipes out there, but with diastatic malt powder? Hmm… Have you tried? THanks!

    · Reply
    • Hi Monica, I’ve never heard of an egg bagel before, so I can’t really recommend anything without trying it first :(. Sorry, I couldn’t be of more help.

      · Reply
  • Matilde

    Hola te escribo desde Tenerife,quiero hacer tu receta del pastel de dulce de leche,pero necesito saber qué cantidad es la medida de la taza. Gracias.

    · Reply
  • dusia kretchmer

    You are sweet and Ilove your recipes. Olivier salad is a must for our family !

    · Reply
  • Viivi

    Hi Marina,
    I just recently came across your wonderful recipes. I came from Estonia and live in Vancouver, B.C. I’ve been cooking since I was 10 and love it. I’ve been eating herring, sour cream and dill all my life. You have wonderful cake recipes. I have a beet salad recipe I should send you. Whenever I make it everyone loves it.
    You have a lovely family, thank you for sharing.

    · Reply
    • Thank you so much, Viivi! Great to hear from you and I’m so happy you came across my little corner on the web. I’ve been to Vancouver, B.C. several times and loved it! I’m just a 5 hour drive from you guys 🙂
      I keep hearing about the combination of herring with sour cream and dill, but have never tried it. Where I come from, it’s not a thing, but I have to give it a try one of these days.

      I’d love to see your recipe for the beet salad. We love all things beets!

      Thank you for your comment, Viivi!

      · Reply

    Hello Marina – I am so touched by your beautiful family and your story. Your girls are so beautiful, as their mama. Your family is precious. I am so excited to try some of your dishes. I too am Ukrainian. Though born in the United States I grew up in an all speaking Ukrainian home. My Babusya and Didus were instrumental in taking care of my brother Petro and me when my tato and mama went to work. My first language was Ukrainian. Ukrainian school every Saturday. and CYM every Tuesday and Thursday. Bandura on Saturday night. Even with all of that I was still a cheerleader in high school and went on to Design school at a university in IL. Oh, I forgot an important piece, I grew up in Chicago. Now living in the east coast. My sons are grown and would you believe it, married Ukrainian girls. One is a Ukrainian-American. Born in Chicago. One is from Ukraine. She comes from Feodosia, Krym. Was Ukraine when Pavlo met Anna and married her. I would love to hear from you. I now have (4) beautiful grandchildren. Sophia, Larissa, Alexandra and Andrew (my Prince Charming). Be well. God Bless you and your beautiful family. Z Bohom! Halya Zaderej (Галя Задерей)

    · Reply
    • Hello Anna! So good to hear from you and to learn about your family! It’s so impressive that you were able to speak Ukrainian growing up even though you were born here. I speak Ukrainian with my parents, my husband, but my children don’t speak it as much. I think it is a lot easier to teach them when you yourself only speak Ukrainian.

      My mom speaks only Ukrainian, so my children learn from her a lot. In fact, until a couple of years ago my middle daughter didn’t speak any Ukrainian, but once my mom started to work at our house with her on regular basis (as a caregiver) she learnt Ukrainian and now understands everything and even speaks some.

      Thank you, once more for sharing your family and your story with me. It brings me much joy to “meet” people like yourself through my website. I hope you get to try some of our favorite recipes and they become as well-loved in your family as they have been in ours.

      God bless you and your family!


      · Reply
  • Megan

    I found your wonderful site while searching for tart cherry preserves recipes. And I feel like I discovered a blessing! Your story is beautiful, and your family is so precious. Thank you for the wonderful website and all the great recipes. Thank you also for glorifying the Lord with your work! Many years to you and your loved ones!

    · Reply
  • Connie

    I am so anxious to try your recipes. They look absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and knowledge. Blessings to you and your family.

    · Reply
  • Beata

    Hi Marina,
    Your recipes are so delicious and every one I bake are a success. So I would like to ask if you’ll post a chimney cake recipe. I won’t even look for another recipe unless you don’t post one Thank you and God bless you!

    · Reply
  • Penny Hibbs

    I will be making your instant pot beef tounge recipe. We’re picking up the beef tounge from the meat market tonight, but I’ll probably wait till tommorow to cook it since it takes 90 minutes on pressure to cook it. Can it be cooked from frozen in this recipe? In case it’s frozen when we pick it up? Penny Hibbs

    · Reply
    • Hi Penny,
      Yes, you can cook it from frozen.It’s just going to take longer for it to come up to temperature and start the count down of the 90 minute cooking time.

      · Reply
  • michael

    Hi. God bless you and your family in Jesus’ wonderful name and love. Thanks for sharing your recipes, can’t wait to try some, I may start with the CCCookies.

    · Reply
  • Susan Wallis

    Hi Marina
    Just about to try the donuts. Great site lively to read hope you are all well

    · Reply
  • Craig

    Hi! I just read your cucumber and tomato salad and it’s getting served to the family tonight to go along with a bacon wrapped stuffed pork loin!

    I’m sure it will slay because I made up a goat cheese Ranch dressing I made and had to share to you. I love the creamy blend with lemon thyme and herb de Provence. Fresh picked tomatoes and cucumbers!
    I cheated a bit and used my restaurant Ranch dressing.

    Great blog! I’m inspired to write a blog too. I hope it makes money.

    · Reply
  • Kelly Storey

    I live in a rural town north of Houston, Tx. I own a tiny bakery on my 10 acres. @pieladyflynn. I do not have a website, but a pretty good Google following, as well as Facebook and Instagram. I love bread. My passion is baking pies but I’m trying your sweet bread recipe right now. Thank you! My daughter is an RN and mother of 3, so you got my attention. I really enjoyed reading your story!

    · Reply
    • Hi Kelly, welcome to Let the Baking Begin! Such a pleasure to have you here and to get to know you a little. I hope your sweet bread came out awesome!

      · Reply
  • Linda Coe

    Garlic Ranch Chicken was delicious! Thank you!
    God bless!

    · Reply
  • Anne

    Marina, My husband dropped your recipe for Pani Walewska. He does this from time to time to pique my interest and this one did indeed. After reading it thru several times I knew it was a “home” recipe, that is, not professional. I would like to make a few suggestions: dough is for breads while batter is a better name suited for cakes, and 15 minutes to whip a meringue would result in a dry hard to handle meringue. I look forward to trying out this unique recipe once I can locate plum butter it may swap it for raspberry.

    Happy Cooking.

    · Reply
    • Hi Anne,
      Thank you so much for your comment! Don’t you love it when they do that :D?

      You’ve mentioned about the difference between dough and batter. The difference between the two is that one is thick (you can form a ball) and the other one is thinner (you can pour it). This particular cake, Pani Walewska cake, has more of a dough (thicker consistency that is rolled out) type of cake since it’s rolled out. But other sponge cakes do in fact have batters that you pour into the pan and bake.

      For the meringue, you really do need to whip it for the stated amount of time, if you use a handheld mixer you might even have to whip it longer. The meringue layer in this cake is supposed to be crunchy when baked. Once it’s layered with the cream the meringue softens up. If you do not whip the meringue for long enough though, you’ll end up with soft, wheeping meringue that will just melt away and leave no trace of it’self once layered.

      Raspberry sounds like a great replacement for plum butter since it will still have enough tartness to keep the cake delicious.

      I hope you share your experience once you try the cake:D

      Thank you, Anne!


      · Reply
  • Champ

    Hi Marina,
    I am a mom of two grown-up sons. I am from Sri lanka and live in LA, California.
    I am in the beginning of the process of making bread (sp. No-Knead bread) and you took my breadth away with not only your recipe but with your write up of your self too. Also I see myself in you. You have the courage and the interest to do things, curious and love what you do, good mom, appreciate your life and like to share with others to make this world a better place because you are helping others to be nice and better for others with good attitude. Wish you the best out of best.
    Definitely going to try your bread.

    · Reply
  • Bruce Munck

    Hi, marina…

    Mashed potatoes and gravy is probably my favorite food of all time! This would explain how I stumbled onto your webpage. I appreciate the detailed explanation you gave of how to go about fixing mashed potatoes, and I can tell that cooking is, for you, a labor of love. Thank you once again for your time and efforts…and share some more with us whenever you find the time and inspiration.

    · Reply
  • Zori

    Hi Marina, thanks for sharing about you and your talent of cooking/baking with the rest of us. I too love to spend time in my kitchen, a lot! But found myself repeating recipes so I googled Ukrainian desserts and found your site. Yay! where were you earlier? 🙂 I clicked on a cake photo with caption “no bake honey cake” something we working mamas need sometimes, regardless of how much we love to bake. I’m so excited to try many of your cake recipes. Thank you for finding time to do this!

    · Reply
    • Hi Zori! Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! So glad to have you here and meet another fellow baker/cook-er 😀 Hope you love the recipe for the No-bake Honey Cake if you get to making it. Stay safe!

      · Reply
  • Barbara Karr

    I don’t know how I missed your blog before! I could be your Grandma but I have a great respect for your skills. I started baking breads after retiring and can’t get enough. We are similar in background,except I come from a Polish community. But the love of foods and baking are important to both of us. Will be following your great blog from now on!! Good luck to you and stay safe in these spooky times. Keep sharing and teaching. God Bless

    · Reply
    • Hello!
      Welcome to my blog, so glad to see you here! Ukrainian and polish cuisines have a lot in common, so I hope you find lots of great recipes that will be to your liking.

      God bless!

      · Reply
  • irene anderson

    Just discovered your blog through a Ukrainian food site.My Mom was Ukrainian and my Dad was a soldier displaced to Canada after the second world war. My Mom and Grandmother were born in Manitoba but kept up traditional Ukrainian recipes. My sister and I are always trying to create “what Mom made” but are not always successful. Fun trying however. I am retired. I look forward to following your blog.

    · Reply
    • Hello Irene and welcome!
      I hope you find lots of things to relive your memories. Here’s a link directly to all of my recipes that we ate growing up in Ukraine – click HERE.

      · Reply
  • Brigitte Nicole Blenman

    Please attempt to make time and reach out to me. I am actually really curious how you got this website started. How you keep it funded and what your goals of baking are. I have been baking probably equivalent to you but no competition just looking for pointers on the best way to achieve my baking goals.

    · Reply
  • Jan Taylor

    I recently made your Amaretti cookies. I ground my almonds in a food processor. My cookies were so soft I Couldn’t roll them in the sugars. What did I do wrong?

    · Reply
    • Hi Jan,
      The recipe needs finely ground almonds, which should have the texture of almond flour. If they’re still in little chunks you wouldn’t have the texture needed to make the “batter” form. Depending on the type of your food processor this might be achievable or not. Since I don’t have any pictures for reference as to what the almonds looked like, I can’t give you a better answer.

      Although, even with the almond flour the amaretti batter comes out pretty much like thick meringue so you need to coat each spoonful in sugar before you’re able to roll them.

      · Reply
  • Iryna Wiggam

    Hi there! I stumbled upon your site and I am loving it! The pictures are so beautiful. Can’t wait to try your recipes. They look great! (P.S. I am originally from Ukraine, too.)

    · Reply
  • Sara Boyd

    I don’t usually read the bios when I’m searching recipes. I was searching for wings and your white chocolate cranberry video popped up. I was hooked! I enjoyed your testimony and admire your strength and your story! Thank you for sharing ❤️

    · Reply
  • Nate Jenks

    Hi, Marina. I was just looking for a good thigh and potato recipe, but then I ended up reading all about you. You seem like an amazing person, so thanks for sharing. And as a former English teacher, I must say your second-language skills are superb!

    · Reply
    • Welcome to my corner on the internet Nate!
      And thank you both for the compliments on my blog and my English skills 😀

      · Reply
  • Larisa

    I just found your site, I am originally from Moldova and so excited to try recipes.

    · Reply
  • Hilda

    Love your story as well as all the wonderful recipes. Thank you very much for sharing them with all of us. I am going to start with your Russian Napoleon and just by reading the ingredient list I know it will be beautiful and super tasty. Thank you again – Hilda

    · Reply
  • Tanya Deguzmn

    Hello there! Thank you for sharing your recipes and your story. I’m a rookie baker and love macarons.

    I have a question about the French buttercream method. Do you have any tips how to make this filling from getting too runny after the filled macaron has been sitting out for a couple hours? I love this filling, it’s a real hit and I noticed after the macaron came to room temperature, the shells started to slide off. I know it’s a high moisture filling, but want to see if anyone has any tricks to make it more firm?

    Thank you,

    · Reply
    • Hi Tanya, could you specify which recipe for shells and buttercream you used? Sometimes if the macarons did not have enough time to mature with the filling, the shells can slide off. But I would like to see the recipe before I can tell you for sure. Good luck!

      · Reply
  • Donnie

    Hello Marina,
    My kids and I found your site while looking for cold-smoked salmon recipes. At this moment we have 3lbs in the fridge in a brine. We are looking forward to devouring it tomorrow.
    On another note, I hope ya’ll are enjoying the Pacific Northwest. My kids and I lived out by Seattle for 6 years, we absolutely loved it and miss it every day.

    Thank you for sharing the recipes.

    · Reply
    • Hi Donnie,
      I hope the fish came out good.
      We are definitely enjoying it here, I love everything about the Pacific Northwest – the forests, the ocean, the mountains, the weather, temperatures, everything is just perfect!

      · Reply
  • Nanci

    you are a beautiful person lovingly raised by a Ukrainian Mom You have done her proud. God will continue to bless you in many ways because of all the love you give! Recipes are awesome girl!

    · Reply
  • Miss

    So glad I found your site.

    · Reply
  • Julie Meier Lee

    found your blog when I was searching for nutrition information for Margarita Flatbread. I am a recently retired RN and was just diagnosed with Diabetes. So I am now searching for tasty recipes that I can record the nutrition information and keep to my restrictions. I am just under 5 ft and never had a weight problem until a failed back surgery.
    Can you tell me more about the flatbread you used? Where do I find it living in Ohio?Your daughters are beautiful!

    · Reply
    • Hi Julie,
      Thank you for your comment and question!

      I had gestational diabetes with my pregnancy and that was tough. Sorry to hear about the diagnosis 🙁
      I bought mine from local Costco when they sold it in packs of 6 or 8, can’t remember exactly. You don’t have to have the same one I used though. You can search for flatbread in your local grocer’s bread section, any flatbread will work for this recipe as long as you like the flavor.

      · Reply
  • Bill Fodor

    Marina, 1st. off, I’ll be 78 shortly & am a widower, as my lovely wife passed away @ 54, from brain aneurisms. We were planning to move to PA. for retirement, but sadly she passed a few weeks before we closed on this 41 acres atop a mountain. As it was our dream, I went through & built the 3-bedroom log home we wanted.
    I got to love cooking & baking, as I had all my moms & wifes recipes mostly old world Hungarian, Slavish , Ukrainian & Polish.
    Last week, my son-in-law gave me your Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole recipe he stumbled on & it sounded so different , I made it. It’s so delicious ! As a matter of fact, I’m having 2 squares of it tonight, for supper. Your recipe didn’t mention it, but I froze 6 pcs. for another time. Hope they’ll be OK. I’ve been bragging to everyone about the recipe & gave it to my brother, as we both often make stuffed cabbage & this was a beautiful switch. I just got off the computer for about 90 minutes of searching for your blog
    through tons of recipes, then finally found you. I signed up with you as all your recipes look fantastic. After all, what can be bad, with old world recipes from our nationalities ? They’re the best. Seems like a small world, as in a pic you added when you & your husband were honeymooning, I believe, he was wearing a San Diego tee shirt & my younger son & family live there. I can go on & on, as I’m so happy to have found your website, but I won’t bore you any longer.
    God Bless you & your family. I hear you about our children with problems. My youngest of 4, Denise was born with the joints in her legs, misaligned & had special shoes that were bolted together on their soles,to a steel bar, to force her bones to straighten out. we were told the same about her ever being ok. Today, she just had her 35th. b/d & you wouldn’t know she ever had a problem. I also have a 6 yr. old grandson that’s Autistic & still doesn’t speak But is so handsome & super smart in a regular elementary school he attends. I never miss a week in church, praying that he’ll start talking, before i pass on.
    Again Marina, God Bless You & your family & thanks for the recipe !

    · Reply
    • Hi Bill,
      Wow, thank you so much sharing about you and your family. I’m so thankful that I get to hear from people like you through my blog. I love learning about my readers and when they share their life stories, I read them with joy! So glad you enjoyed the Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole! It’s the best when a piece of my heart is shared through the world by people using the recipes that I put my heart into.
      It’s very heartwarming to hear the way you speak about your family, wife, children and grandchildren – sounds like you have a great family!

      We don’t always know why God chose to give us the path that He did, but it gives me joy to know that when we arrive to heaven, we’ll get all the answers. There will be no more pain, no more disabilities, no more death, just joy and happiness in His presence.

      I wish you and your family all the best! May God bless you and them!

      · Reply
  • Beverly Zink

    Hi, just a quick question. Hopefully you can email me quickly as I am preparing to make your delicious looking Ferrero Rocher cake. I notice in the recipe it doesn’t call for any butter or some kind of shortening. Is this correct? Usually cakes have this ingredient and it seemed odd not to be in this recipe.
    thank you so much for your help!
    Beverly Zink

    · Reply
    • Hi Beverly,
      Not all cakes have butter 🙂 This one doesn’t either, but it still comes out good. Hope you love it!

      · Reply
  • Hamidullah Yousofi

    Hi Dear
    I liked your all cooking food wonderful and best that.
    if you have a time can you send me some more recipes about side dish vgetables
    meat or fish?

    kind Regards

    · Reply
  • Svetlana

    Marina, I baked oreshki based on your recipe, they came out AMAZING! Even my mom who is a great cook and usually (criticizes a bit) didn’t say one bad thing and loved them 🙂 and so did my kids and husband. So planning to make more tomorrow! Seems like you have lots of other great recipes so can’t wait to try others as well.

    Looks like you have a wonderful family thanks for sharing the pictures and the recipes as well!!!

    Happy Holidays!

    · Reply
    • Hi Svetlana! I love it when we can impress our parents, always a special sense of accomplishment 😀 Thank you for your wonderful comment!

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  • Rose Wachtel

    Your recipes look delicious and easy.

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  • Joanne Abbott

    Hi Marina

    I came across your insta page by chance & found myself salivating at so many recipes. I’ve just read your story & found it so heart warming, thank you for sharing & I’m so glad I came across your page.

    Best wishes from Northern Ireland x

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  • Jakub Przedzienkowski

    Just discovered your site via Pinterest. Rustic Farmer’s Bread. Will make it soon. I’m in San Diego visiting grandkids. Hope to look over more of your recipes.

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    • Hi Jakub! Welcome to my blog! Hope you love the Rustic Farmer’s bread, it’s definitely one of our favorites! Enjoy your stay in San Diego!

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  • Jane Russell

    Wonderful recipes! I’m in Miami & have only just begun to really appreciate all the different good foods, thanks to a Russian store here, Marky’s. I was so glad to be able to start cooking with their ingredients. Thank you!

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  • Myla Warner


    I’m simply a mother, wife, hard worker and home cook who lives by my own recipes and of course those of others….my Mom may she rest in peace left me her treasures; her thousands upon thousands of recipes. I was googling new recipes for really crisp chicken quarter thighs with veggies…and came upon your webpage and kept reading because you’re so eloquent and real with your words and other than the fact that you obviously adore desserts….I do not, no sweet tooth what so ever other than maple fudge or butterscotch ice cream 🙂 You could be my ‘other’ daughter, I have one daughter. Your recipe for the chicken will be tried out tomorrow and I know it’s gonna be delicious! Follow your gut and please keep posting your great recipes, I’ll let you know how it works out!

    · Reply
    • Hello Myla,
      What a wonderful and sweet comment! Thank you so very much for your kind words, I truly share my heart through my recipes and this blog and it makes my heart so warm when I get messages like yours!
      Thank you so much and I hope you find lots of other recipes that you will enjoy on my site, as I definitely share lots of savory ones too. The chicken and potato recipe is one of the most popular recipes on this site and I think you will enjoy it! I would recommend that you try my Paprika Baked Chicken Thighs recipe as well, as the spice blend in that recipe can be used for any other chicken or beef recipe, including the One Pan Chicken and Potatoes one.

      Hope you have a wonderful week!


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  • Bashar Sadiya

    Very nice recipes

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  • Irina

    Hi Marina,
    The first recipe I tried were the plum butter cookies. I was warned that they will take a lot of time, but they were worth it! Our family just finished the holiday cake, every one one was blown away. Thank you for sharing your recipes.

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  • jean

    interested in the recipes

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  • Sherie Rodrigues

    Dear Marina. Hello. I love your story so far. I am sure you are going to write so much more. I love your enthusiasm for life, love and family. I wanted to let you know I prepared a meal last night for my partner and 4 friends. I created, yes created, your beef stroganoff and cranberry and white chocolate bliss bars. What a hit. I am going to make everyone of your recipes. They are special, like yourself. Love and kisses to you and your beautiful family. I will keep you informed of reactions to your recipes. Sherie

    · Reply
    • Hello Sherie,
      Thank you so much for such heartwarming comment! I love it that you enjoyed my recipes! So happy to have you here!

      Let me know if you have any questions about the recipes!

      Thank you!


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  • Mary Quinn

    Please add me to your e-mail list

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  • Simona

    Beautiful family Marina and yummy recipes

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  • Aryna

    Hey Marina,

    Just found your blog. It made me feel nostalgic and hungry and envious of your close friends and family who get to sample all this deliciousness.

    Can’t wait to try a few of my childhood favorites like Napoleon and Bird’s Milk. I am from Odessa and live in the Pacific NW too 🙂


    · Reply
    • Hey Aryna,
      Welcome to the blog, glad to have you visit!
      It is never too late to start new traditions if they’re something you enjoy 😀

      Napoleon is one of my absolute favorites, hope you find the time to make it some time this holiday season!

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  • Bette Lebens

    Hi Marina, I found your website yesterday, searching online for a recipe by the ingredients I want to use, which turned out to be your one-pan chicken and butternut squash. It was delicious! I often search for new recipes by ingredient, and I am rather picky, and often don’t find anything original or outstanding. I’m 72 and have been cooking since I was tall enough to turn on the gas stove. I love to cook, and everyone loves my cooking, which makes me very happy! Today I am looking at your other recipes to see what I think of them, and I want to say that I want to cook more of them! Tonight we are having your roast beef with carmelized onions and mushrooms! (The flu fairy has visited and hasn’t left yet, so easy dinners are on the menu) Thanks for your recipes.

    · Reply
    • Hi Bette!
      Welcome to the blog! With that many years of experience in the kitchen I can just imagine how good your cooking is! I hope you enjoyed the roast!

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  • Denise

    Thanks for sharing your sweet story and photos of your beautiful family. Keep up the good work in all areas ! You look happy and blessed and it is wonderful to have you share your stories and, of course, your delicious recipes ! I look forward to trying many of them ! God Bless.

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  • Elizabeth E Stephens

    What a beautiful family you have! This is my first time to your blog, your recipes look amazing. Thanks for that and God Bless! Elizabeth
    (By the way, it looks like you live in Oregon, me too! I love it here.)

    · Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth,
      welcome to the blog and thank you for your kind words! Yep, I live in Portland, Oregon and also love it here!

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  • Julia Vayner

    I love your story! I was born in Russia and moved here when I was 5. I absolutely can’t wait to try some recipes from your blog. I’m pumped. My mom and I have been looking for Farmer’s cheese replacements for-ever. Can’t wait to try the Ricotta Syrniki.

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    • Welcome to the site Julia! I can’t wait to see your creations, hope you tag them on social media if you do post them 🙂
      I do have a recipe for Farmer’s cheese on the site as well, just in case you would like to make your own 😉 Fresh Farmer’s Cheese Recipe

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  • Mrs. C.J Johnson

    Thought I’d take a peek about you.

    I moved from Detroit to Lakewood, Washington in 2009. A “servant to the servants” in Christ Jesus since 2011.

    And yes I know bout that rain here in GODS country. That’s what they call it where I come from.

    I was moved to tears by your brief story on your 7 year old princess. You mentioned ‘seems to be orchestrated”. We know not the mind of GOD that’s part of why HE Is I AM. HE is….Sovereign.

    The world will always take issue with that. They don’t like what they don’t and don’t want to–understand. Your beautiful princess with such life in her smile was given to you for GODs glory and a purpose which I truly believe you know. You know because GOD said ‘yes’ to her life and the productivity & quality of it–in spite of what they said she and it….would be.

    Your story made me wonder: “If all doctors prayed for their patients conditions instead looking at only what their own purchased, enhanced wisdom sees…

    How many more….how many?

    Marina, I am elated for you and your family. GOD Bless and forever– keep you all.

    GOD’S providence. Everything is orchestrated by GOD. Keep your eyes on HIM.

    · Reply
    • Mrs. C.J Johnson,
      Came across your comment once again and realized I never did respond to it. Thank you so much for taking the time our of your day to comment. My daughter has been through so much over the years and even though I sometimes struggle to know all the answers to my “why’s”, I do know that not a hair falls off our heads without His will. Therefore, I am accepting his will and doing my best to be the best mother I can be for my darling daughter, and learn from her ever enduring strength and bravery as she goes through every day with a smile on her face.

      Thank you for your blessings!


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  • Stephi Cantley

    I just discovered your beautiful website! Amazing. God is surely using your talents/gifts to bless so many! Thank you for the recipe One Pot Chicken and Potatoes! I’m making it for dinner tonight! 🙂 Jesus bless your work! I shared your site with my sisters and friends!

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  • Just would like to exchange great energy and positives thouth and amazing food ideas.

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  • nora

    You have a wonderful family ,God bless you and your family.

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  • Mati

    Dorogaya Marina,

    Thank you for your blog!, I think I found the right recipe for the Napoleon ,finally. It does resemble a lot of how my grandma used to make it (hers was the best in town of course, no joke.)
    That was back in North Caucasus, not Ukraine. So, i’m thinking that the recipe is classic and has little to do with what country it came from.
    I do find your story inspiring and can only imagine the challenges you have to face on a daily basis as a mother…

    Now, back to the “dill”, we use a lot of dill in everything and of course marinades; “we”= people from Kuban’, the South of Russia. I thought that it was a bit misleading for you to state that the over-usage of dill is specific to Ukraine. I was born in the USSR when everything and everybody were together ( I lived in other Republics too.)
    So, let’s agree that the foods and recipes that we like so much were really a heritage of our parents and grandparents and cannot always be tied to a particular region.

    As for myself, I came (bought a ticket on borrowed money at 120% APR) to this country with nothing, no money, no Green Card, no language, w/o knowing anyone, no place to stay, I was 19… I suggest we stay humble and don’t brag about the things that most of us faced…Been an immigrant is a tough path, but there are a lot of us who received US education and have good careers. We achieved these things not despite but because we are immigrants, our advantage is our survival mechanism and resilience.

    I am looking forward to more of your recipes. As a matter of fact I’m still looking for the cake (grandma used to make it also) that was called (and looked like) “Zebra.” I remember she would pour white batter first and then cocoa colored batter and so forth. So, when the cake was cut it would look like Zebra stripes on the inside.

    Piece and health to your family and Happy Holidays.

    · Reply
    • Welcome Mati!
      Glad to have you here!

      Thank you for sharing your story! I loved reading and learning about your heritage. Resilience is definitely one of those things that every immigrant has. You got to have it, if you wanted to survive. It’s the resilience that is making us successful where the opportunities are boundless and many.

      As to the dill mention, through the years when the USSR was all together, many recipes have traveled from one country to another through the use of the common Russian language, so you’re right, in many of those recipes, it is difficult to pinpoint the origin of the recipe.

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  • Janet R.Vicedomini

    Dear Marina, It was only by chance that I came across your blog…I was looking for an almond cream recipe I could make rather than buying it. Little did I know it is also called,frangipane, yes? Nonetheless,I read on and was intrigued to learn of your Ukrainian origin…my rarely finding anyone from the Ukraine where I have lived(New York …Long Island) and now in Miami,Florida.I write because my father was born in the Ukraine…long ago..came to the U.S. as a child …married my mother,a Polish American.Hmmm,I learned almost nothing about the Ukrainian culture until now in my many longer working,I have delved into whatever I can find…as I do love to cook.As you can see by my married name…I am a very good Italian cook,Hmmmmm? When you have time,of which I am certain you have little to spare,I would truly appreciate hearing from you and perhaps sharing a Ukrainian recipe..truly authentic.Thank you,Janet Vicedomini

    · Reply
    • Hi Janet!
      Thank you for sharing your story! I love it when people discover Ukrainian cooking, because there’s just so many recipes that are amazing, but people don’t know about them! If you would like to see my Ukrainian recipes, just visit the Ukrainian cuisine section of my blog, here’s the link –

      The section is a mix of Russian and Ukrainian recipes, as the two cultures are very intermingled and have a lot of the same history.


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  • Sandy

    Hi Marina 😀
    I came across your blog while Googling recipes 🙂
    I have bookmarked it as a favorite.
    I have always been a good baker, but only recently started cooking haha!
    Seriously, I always ate out.
    The only time you would find me in the kitchen is if I was making cupcakes or cookies.
    I started cooking about 3 months ago, and your blog has helped me a lot!
    Your recipes are wonderful, I have loved everything I have made, and they are simple enough for newbies such as myself.
    I actually enjoy cooking now, in addition to baking!

    ~Sandy from Canada

    PS My hubby is also Ukrainian/Russian and he loves all the food so far as well. I told him about your blog and now he wants me to make all the salads from back home. I have not had the courage to venture into that yet haha 😀

    · Reply
    • Hi Sandy,
      So happy you found your way to my blog, welcome!

      Usually people start out with cooking and never get to baking, not the other way around, but I love the fact that you bake and now are starting to venture into cooking! Even though I can do both, I definitely enjoy baking more as well!

      Don’t tell your hubby I have recipes for Napoleon or Prague cake, because then he might never stop bugging you, haha.

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  • Doris Sherrill

    I come from a German background, and many of your recipes are like what I grew up with. I was looking for Pfaummenkuchen and your plum coffee cake was just what I needed. I look forward to visiting your site in the future.

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  • Tomas Edvardsson

    Hi Marina,
    just found you, and after a few seconds, bookmarked your site in my food section. You are doing a great job keeping traditions alive while at the same time inventing. Not many can do that without going overboard one way or the other. And you are a “from scratch” creator which is something I am very particular about. Just wanted to say Thanks and keep doing what you are doing. Your 5 year old looks fantastic!

    · Reply
    • Hi Tomas,
      Thanks for your wonderful comment and words of encouragement! I’m happy to hear your enjoy the recipes I have shared. I will do my best to not disappoint in the future as well!

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  • Sue R

    Hi from Australia! I just noticed your blog today and loving pinning the recipes on Pinterest. Can’t wait to try lots of your recipes. Everything looks so good! I’m especially enjoying the Ukrainian ones as my mother was born in Ukraine and I have made a few things my mum and grandmother use to make like perogie, borsht, cabbage rolls and studinetz. My very Australian husband loves all of it 🙂

    · Reply
    • Hello from the other side, Sue 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words! Do you make your studinetz with gelatin or with pigs feet and such? Your husband is a lucky man to be able to experience the delicious world of Ukrainian cuisine!
      I’m in the finishing stages of updating my website layout, so check back soon for a much easier way to navigate through the recipes with all of my Ukrainian recipes in one category, for easy access.

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  • Roxy


    God bless you and your family. You have a very touching story, I came here for your graham cracker medovik recipe. It is an easy solution to my 3yr old sons request to “bake a cake”. It is not one of those days where I am full of energy. 🙂 My 3yr old and 1 yr old keep me very busy. Keep up the good work dear!

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  • Elena may

    Hi dear,
    I just look at pinterest and seen ‘ Ricotta Pancakes’ recipe. I wanted to see a recipe but when I clicked on the picture and it was no recipe just a picture. So I started googling and I found the same picture on your blog and of course the recipe. That picture reminds me ‘ sirniki’ that my family used to make all the time. I have not ate them for very long time. So that’s how I discovered your blog. I’m looking forward to check some more recipes. And I am pretty much sure they are greatly delicious. I am in United States for 9 years and I came here from Ukraine – yes from Ukraine , same as you. I’m very excited to meet you

    · Reply
    • Hi Elena! Thank you so much for sharing your story! When I made them I was in fact trying to make something similar to syrniki, but had no farmers cheese, so I used ricotta 🙂
      I”m very excited to meet someone who shares the same homeland! Welcome to the blog and I hope you stick around!

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  • Crys waters

    Just discovered our blog this evening and am very happy to have done so! Your recipes look wonderful and I always appreciate finding true “ethnic” recipes on the ’net. My warmest wishes to you and your beautiful family for a blessed and joy-filled Christmas!

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  • Kameon Quillen

    I was looking for some comfort foods and was directed to your page from Delish. I don’t think I have ever seen so many recipes in one place that look so delicious and I am excited to try making a lot of them! My family is near Seattle, so I understand your comment about the rain. 🙂

    · Reply
    • Oh you’re too kind Kameon! I’ve learnt to embrase the rain, or rather the amount of rain we get here in the NW – not like we have another choice anyway lol

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