Category Archives: breakfast

Beat-the-Blues Banana Buckwheat

If you are following the news, you’ll know that things are tense here in Ukraine.

It is exactly times like these that make me crave carb and sugar-laden foods like mac & cheese and brownies.   For so long, I thought that was a bad thing.

But a good friend taught me to listen to these cravings; that my body probably does want certain foods, just not these processed foods.  They’re sooo tempting, but eventually leave me feeling more depressed than satisfied.

Whole foods are designed to nourish our bodies with more than just fiber and protein.  They also naturally contain nutrients that can help nourish us emotionally.

The ingredients in this recipe contain nutrients–amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fats, etc.–that have been found to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm.  Don’t we all need that?!

Beat-the-Blues Banana Buckwheat

1/2 cup of buckwheat groats
1 cup of milk or almond milk
1 banana
1/4 cup halved walnuts
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat the buckwheat and 1 cup of water in a shallow pot on low heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a frying pan on low heat (about 10 minutes or so).
Once the groats are extra tender, slice a banana into the pot.
Here comes the part where you work up an appetite and release some pent-up emotions: take a mortar and crush those little groats until they are squished.  This can take up to ten minutes, depending on your mood.  Trust me on this – it creates a really nice texture.
Take the 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon and smell it.
Savor the warm aroma.
My friend also taught me the importance of savoring a meal, even before you eat it.  She is very wise 🙂
Sprinkle the cinnamon into the buckwheat and mix.
Spoon the mixture into two bowls, pour the milk on top, and sprinkle with walnuts.
Enjoy with a friend – because we are not made to endure tough things alone.


Egg & Potato

The older I get, the more I seem to appreciate breakfast foods.  This can be dangerous, but I proceed with caution.

There’s no special story behind this recipe, other than it’s cheap and yummy.

Egg & Potato

1 russet potato
1 fresh egg
1 tsp. seasoned salt

Peel and shred the potato.
Rinse the potato shreds in cold water until the water runs clear.
Heat the shredded potato and salt in a wide pan on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a shallow pot with approx. 5 inches of water and heat.
Maintain the heat so that the water is just before boiling, but doesn’t quite boil.
Stir the water to create a whirlpool effect.
Crack the egg into a shallow dish, and pour into the water.
Allow the egg to sit for 4-5 minutes, gently scraping it off the bottom of the pot if it starts to stick.
Once the egg is cooked, gently lift it out of the water, dab with a napkin to remove extra water, and place on the shredded potatoes.

Egg Stuffed ‘Shrooms

Today is Orthodox Christmas!

I’ve decided to make a mushroom dish in honor of one of the most prominent traditional Christmas dishes, the oushka.

Oushka are basically mushroom-filled perogies, but they are folded like tortellini and only made for Christmas.  They’re pretty special.

I was not motivated to make this intricate dish–with all the rolling, cutting, boiling, and expensive dried mushrooms–so here’s what I made…

Egg Stuffed ‘Shrooms

1 tbsp. finely chopped onions
1/2 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt, to taste
1 egg
3 button mushrooms
marinara sauce

De-stem the mushrooms and finely chop the stems (leaving the caps intact.
Sautee the chopped mushroom stems, onions and garlic until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.
Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat.
Add salt, egg, and mix well.
Fill the mushroom caps with the egg mixture and place in a frying pan.
Cook, covered, on low-medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the egg is no longer runny.
Serve with warm marinara sauce.

French Toast with Currant & Rosehip Syrup

I bought my first loaf of bread at the market today!

I had previously been quite intimidated.  Because many items are behind the counter in these little Ukrainian market shacks, it is difficult to point or explain what one desires, unless one know what it is called.  And I sure don’t.

But I came across a stall that had all the different types of bread labeled with a name and price, so I thought I’d take a crack at it.

I shoveled up to the window and stood in silence.  The lady behind the counter was pre-occupied by recording something in her notebook.   Did she know I was there, but didn’t want to be bothered?  Maybe she had closed up shop for the day and was balancing the books?  Is there a hint here that I’m just not getting?

I managed a “zdrasvutsyah” and hoped that she wouldn’t yell at me (partially because I don’t like being yelled at, and partially because I would have no idea what she was saying).  She returned the greeting and continued working on her books.

Okay, then.

After several long seconds, she looked at me.  Her eyes spoke English; they said, “what do you want?”  I sounded out the name of the bread that I wanted.  Bingo!  She understood.

The next thing I knew, I had paid 60 cents for a fresh, warm loaf of bread.  Oh, the simple things in life!

French Toast with Currant & Rosehip Syrup

3 tbsp. fresh currants
4 tbsp. rosehip syrup
1/2 persimmon
2 slices of bread
1 egg
2 tbsp. cream
1 tbsp. creamy goat cheese

Place the currants in a shallow pan and add 5 tbsp. water.
Heat over low heat while gently crushing the berries with  your trusty pestle.
Add chopped persimmon.  Persimmons have quickly become my favorite fruit here, and will add welcomed sweetness to balance the tart currants.
After 3/4 of the water has evaporated, add the rosehip syrup and remove from heat.
Beat the egg and cream well.
Dip the bread slices in the egg & cream mixture and cook each side for two minutes on low-medium heat.
Pour syrup over french toast slices and crumble the goat cheese on top.
Serve with Christmas tea.