Olga's Flavor Factory http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com Step by step, easy, homemade recipes Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:28:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Raspberry Cheesecake Tart http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/sweets/desserts/raspberry-cheesecake-tart/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/sweets/desserts/raspberry-cheesecake-tart/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:21:08 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17235 Tarts are so pretty and elegant and I love how easy they are to make. I wanted to create a tart with a simple shortbread cookie type crust and have a no bake filling. The less oven time, the better. Right now my baby is at an age where he needs a lot of attention, […]

The post Raspberry Cheesecake Tart appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-23
Tarts are so pretty and elegant and I love how easy they are to make. I wanted to create a tart with a simple shortbread cookie type crust and have a no bake filling. The less oven time, the better. Right now my baby is at an age where he needs a lot of attention, so I don’t have time for fancy layer cakes or other fussy desserts during the week. During the weekends, my husband can take charge of baby watching, but during the week, I’m on my own. Since we have company on weeknights too, this is the perfect solution. I made the tart during my baby’s nap times and it was all ready to go for our guests that evening.
I combined three of my favorite sweet flavors – cheesecake, berries and a simple cookie that isn’t too sweet.
To make sure it wasn’t runny, I used unflavored gelatin for the cheesecake filling. This tart has a sandy shortbread crust, with a creamy mascarpone cheesecake filling, topped off with fresh, juicy raspberries. You can even make this into small, individual tarts which would be really cute. With a nice cup of tea, this tart is the perfect way to relax with your family or guests.


Ingredients:

 

Tart Crust:
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter (1/2 cup), softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cheesecake Filling:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 Tablespoon water
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 pints raspberries
Instructions:
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-44In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the egg and vanilla. Mix to combine.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-43Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix just until combined.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-42Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap it in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerate for about 30 minutes. You can even make this a day in advance.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-41Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about an 11 inch circle.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-40
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-39Place the dough over a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Lift the edge of the dough and ease it into the corners of the pan. Make sure there is dough in all the corners of the pan. Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-37
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-38Trim off the excess dough off the top of the tart pan. (I usually roll out the excess dough and bake a few little cookies that taste really great.)
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-32Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Freeze the dough in the tart pan for about 30 minutes.
Bake the tart shell in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, just until it is lightly golden brown around the edges.
Take the tart shell out of the oven and chill completely.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-30Meanwhile, make the filling.
Pour the 1 Tablespoon of water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-31In a chilled bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, mix the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Set aside in a small bowl.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-36Using the same bowl and standing mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. (You can also use a hand held mixer.)
Add the mascarpone cheese, vanilla and salt. (You can also add some lemon zest for extra flavor.)
You can use 8 oz of cream cheese only, if you don’t want to use mascarpone cheese. Mix until smooth.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-35Gently fold in the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-33Place the gelatin mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds or heat in a small saucepan on very low heat, just until the gelatin dissolves. Do NOT boil. Set aside to cool just for a minute.
Add the gelatin into the cheesecake mixture and mix to combine.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-29Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cooled tart shell. Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-28Refrigerate until the cheesecake layer is set, about 1 hour. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-26You can also use any other berries, nuts or chocolate shavings. 
To remove the tart out of the pan, place your hand under the pan, holding up only the removable bottom not the sides. Push the tart straight up and the tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. Use a long thin knife or spatula to gently remove the tart from the bottom of the pan and transfer it to a serving plate.
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-25
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart-1-24
Raspberry Cheesecake Tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 (9 inch) tart
Ingredients
Tart Shell:
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter (1/2 cup), softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 pints raspberries
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix just until combined.
  4. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap it in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerate for about 30 minutes. You can even make this a day in advance.
  5. Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about an 11 inch circle.
  6. Place the dough over a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Lift the edge of the dough and ease it into the corners of the pan. Make sure there is dough in all the corners of the pan. Trim off the excess dough off the top of the tart pan. (I usually roll out the excess dough and bake a few little cookies that taste really great.)
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Freeze the dough in the tart pan for about 30 minutes.
  9. Bake the tart shell in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, just until it is lightly golden brown around the edges.
  10. Take the tart shell out of the oven and chill completely.
  11. Meanwhile, make the filling. Pour the 1 Tablespoon of water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let it stand for about 5 minutes.
  12. In a chilled bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, mix the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Set aside in a small bowl.
  13. Using the same bowl and standing mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. (You can also use a hand held mixer.)
  14. Add the mascarpone cheese, vanilla and salt. (You can also add some lemon zest for extra flavor.) Mix until smooth.
  15. Gently fold in the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture.
  16. Place the gelatin mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds or heat in a small saucepan on very low heat, just until the gelatin dissolves. Do NOT boil. Set aside to cool just for a minute.
  17. Add the gelatin into the cheesecake mixture and mix to combine.
  18. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cooled tart shell. Refrigerate until the cheesecake layer is set, about 1 hour. Garnish with fresh raspberries. You can also use any other berries, nuts or chocolate shavings.
  19. To remove the tart out of the pan, place your hand under the pan, holding only the removable bottom not the sides. Push the tart straight up and the tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. Use a long thin knife or spatula to gently remove the tart from the bottom of the pan and transfer it to a serving plate.
Notes
You can use 8 oz of cream cheese only, if you don’t want to use mascarpone cheese.

The post Raspberry Cheesecake Tart appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/sweets/desserts/raspberry-cheesecake-tart/feed/ 5
Buying Our Kitchen Appliances On Craigslist http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/buying-our-kitchen-appliances-on-craigslist/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/buying-our-kitchen-appliances-on-craigslist/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 00:28:31 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17191 When we bought our house last summer, we gutted our entire kitchen and remodeled the whole thing – cupboards, counters, island, walls, ceiling and floor. We also upgraded the appliances to nicer stainless steel ones from the ones that came with the house. We knew that a great way to stretch our budget was to […]

The post Buying Our Kitchen Appliances On Craigslist appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Kitchen Appliances on Craigslist-2-10 copyWhen we bought our house last summer, we gutted our entire kitchen and remodeled the whole thing – cupboards, counters, island, walls, ceiling and floor. We also upgraded the appliances to nicer stainless steel ones from the ones that came with the house. We knew that a great way to stretch our budget was to buy used appliances instead of brand new ones. I also didn’t care if all the appliances were the same brand, so that widened our options quite a bit. You can read all the details of the rest of the kitchen remodel in this post.

First of all, we sold all of the simple, white appliances that were in the original kitchen. They all worked well and were in pretty good shape, so that was another way we were able to stretch our budget even more. Kitchen Remodel-1-48We looked for appliances at some outlet stores, but didn’t find the kind we were looking for at the time we were searching. That is another great option, it just didn’t work out for us this time. In the end, we ended up buying almost all of our appliances on Craigslist.

Double Oven

Frigidaire Electric Oven Model #PLEB30T9DCC. This particular model isn’t even sold anymore. Here’s a similar model.

Kitchen Appliances on Craigslist-1-9 copy
Having a double oven is a dream come true. It’s so convenient to have two ovens, since we have people over for dinner parties and have over night guests A LOT. At least a few times each month. I knew I would get good use out of both ovens. It’s great being able to cook your entree, side dish and dessert all at the same time.

We found this double oven on Craigslist for a fraction of the cost of a brand new one. Unfortunately, the gentleman who sold it to us was going through a divorce and was allowed by the lawyers to sell his kitchen appliances. He told us that the oven was still in perfect condition. It sure is. It looks like he hardly ever used it and the bottom one looked brand new. I’ve been using it all year and haven’t had any issues at all. I love the convection option that these ovens have.

We Paid: $700

New Model: $1,699

We saved: $999

Hood 
Whirlpool 30-inch Vented 300-CFM Wall-Mount Canopy Hood 

Kitchen Appliances on Craigslist-1-3Having a powerful hood was my husband’s explicit request and I am so glad we got it. With so much cooking going on at our house, this robust beastly machine keeps the smokiness and odors at bay. Sergi and my Dad installed the hood so that the exhaust goes through the attic and then the side of the house. This way, the smells are all suctioned and expelled outside, not blown around uselessly in the house. Now anytime I am searing steaks indoors, cooking fish or cabbage soup, the air in the whole house isn’t permeated with all those odors for days. When we lived in apartments, I used to have to open all the windows, doors and turn on the fans for a few hours during and after cooking to get the air smelling fresh again. Those wimpy apartment hoods just made noise and moved air around but didn’t do any good.

Even though it’s so powerful and effective, I think the noise isn’t too loud at all. It doesn’t get too dirty either. I’ve only had to clean it a few times, and then I just sprayed it with all purpose cleaning spray and wiped it dry.

The seller was a contractor who bought this brand new hood for a client, who ended up not liking how it looked and bought another one. How cool for us? We scored a brand new hood! It was still in the original packaging.

We paid: $170

New model: $599

We saved: $429

Refrigerator

Frigidaire French Door Refrigerator 

Kitchen Appliances on Craigslist-1-7I love our French door refrigerator. Not only does it looks really sleek and elegant, it’s so roomy. I can fit so much more food in it than the other refrigerators that I had before. It’s also really convenient for big items, like cakes, or when I have a large roast or even turkey prepped ahead of time. I can move the shelves around to fit whatever I need.

Kithchen Cupboards and Drawers-1-36The bottom freezer is very easy to keep organized. Since the drawer is divided into 4 sections, it’s really easy to see everything and to divide different food into their own space.

Kithchen Cupboards and Drawers-1-34We also bought this for a fraction of the cost on Craigslist and also are so happy with the way that it’s working.

We paid: $750

New model: $2649

We saved: $1899

Dishwasher

Samsung Top Control Dishwasher Model#DMT800RHS (this model is also no longer sold.) This is a similar dishwasher.

Kitchen Appliances on Craigslist-1-6The dishwasher was a learning experience. The sellers had the dishwasher stored in their garage. They told Sergi that they had recently upgraded to a newer model and that this dishwasher still worked perfectly. There was no way to test it, so we decided to buy it. Well, when we installed it and turned it on, we quickly found out that it wasn’t in perfect condition. In fact it didn’t work at all. There was an error message on it. When Sergi and my Dad took it apart, they found one of the hoses was cracked. The sellers stuffed some paper towels into the water sensor, so the sensor wouldn’t come on right away. The sellers definitely knew about this issue, since they had tried to cover it up.

That didn’t stop us. Doing some research online, my Dad figured out what the problem was, Sergi bought a replacement part online for about $20 and with the help of a YouTube video fixed the dishwasher and it works great now.

Moral of the story, don’t trust sellers. They will lie straight to your face. If we sell things on Craiglist, we are honest and reveal any problems that an item has, but not everyone is like that. From that day, we carefully test everything out before we buy it. If we can’t test it, we just don’t purchase it. It worked out for us in the long run. However, I wouldn’t recommend this particular dishwasher. I really don’t like the way it is set up and the way you have to load the dishes is very awkward for me. When we have some extra money, I would love to get another dishwasher, but for now I can’t justify spending money on another one, since this one does the job. It also looks really nice, and we especially like that the controls are on top of the door, not on the front of the panel.

We paid: $150

Hose: $20

New model:$699

We saved: $529

TOTAL saved on appliances: $3856

That’s pretty incredible!

The only appliance that we didn’t buy on Craigslist was our gas cooktop, and that’s simply because there wasn’t one available in the size that we wanted on Craiglist, no matter how long I looked for it. I am really happy with the cooktop that we bought. You can read more about why I chose to get a gas cooktop in this post.

We saved so much money by buying used appliances. Buying brand new, matching stainless steel appliances would have been nice, but the price really bites. With all the other remodeling work that we did, we didn’t want to deplete so much of our savings. It’s a good thing we didn’t, since I was already pregnant at the time and we didn’t even know it. The pregnancy, home health care, hospital stays, delivery and recovery were VERY expensive. That is a really good reason to have an emergency fund, you never know what may happen. Happy surprises can be very pricey too:).

Kitchen Remodel-1-31You know what, though?  The appliances work great, they look good (in my opinion, anyway) and the food that I cook is still the same. If I cooked on the cheapest possible appliances for years in all the apartments that we lived, and the food turned out well, I can certainly be very happy with the much nicer appliances that we have now. The quality of food has nothing to do with the appliances that you use anyway, unless it has major problems.

I hope this post was informative and encouraging for you. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer.

Do you have any kitchen remodel stories to share? How about buying or selling on Craigslist? I’d love to hear your experience.

The post Buying Our Kitchen Appliances On Craigslist appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/buying-our-kitchen-appliances-on-craigslist/feed/ 8
Fish and Vegetables En Papillote (Baked in Parchment Paper) Video Recipe http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/fish-and-vegetables-en-papillote-baked-in-parchment-paper-video-recipe/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/fish-and-vegetables-en-papillote-baked-in-parchment-paper-video-recipe/#comments Sat, 15 Aug 2015 19:54:23 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17183 Fish with vegetables in one of my favorite options for a quick, healthy and really delicious dinner. I definitely wanted to film this recipe, because I love it so much. The fish is infused with the flavor of the vegetables in every bite, the vegetables are the perfect texture, and everything is so juicy and […]

The post Fish and Vegetables En Papillote (Baked in Parchment Paper) Video Recipe appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
codveggiesenpapillote copyFish with vegetables in one of my favorite options for a quick, healthy and really delicious dinner. I definitely wanted to film this recipe, because I love it so much. The fish is infused with the flavor of the vegetables in every bite, the vegetables are the perfect texture, and everything is so juicy and packed with deliciousness. It’s also a really healthy dinner, which will give you the perfect full feeling but still with a spring in your step.

I really hope you enjoy this video. I have more recipes coming up soon, so be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss them. 

For the step by step photo recipe, with detailed instructions on how to use regular parchment paper, click HERE.

51p3CLXrGkL

Amazon stock photo

These are the parchment cooking bags that I used in this video.

Fish and Vegetables En Papillote (Baked in Parchment Paper) Video Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 thick fish fillets (cod, salmon, tilapia, snapper, halibut, etc.)
  • 1 small zucchini, or half of a medium zucchini, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
  • ½ - 1 celery stalk, cut into thin slices
  • 1 large shallot (or half of an onion), cut into thin slices
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons, olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare all the vegetables by cutting them into thin matchsticks.
  3. Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl and season them with salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest, the juice of half the lemon, 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and half of the parsley.
  4. Season all of the fish fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle the fish with parsley, the other half of lemon juice, and drizzle with the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Place ½ of the vegetables in each parchment bag.
  6. Place the fish fillets on top of the vegetables.
  7. Seal the cooking bags. You can staple them as an extra precaution.
  8. Place the packets on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven, 10 minutes if the fish is on the smaller side.
  9. To serve, cut open the packets and take out the fish and vegetables with a spatula, or have each person open the packet themselves at the table.
Notes
It's very important to cut the vegetables very thinly. You can use a mandoline to slice all the vegetables and then a knife to cut the slices into matchsticks. You can use a knife if you don't have a mandoline. If the vegetables are too large, they will not get a chance to cook through in the short amount of time that it takes the fish to cook. If you'd rather cut the vegetables larger, you will need to sauté them in a skillet first, to give the vegetables a head start in cooking, before placing the vegetables in the packets.
You can use any firm, thick fish fillets for this recipe. Salmon, cod, swai, tilapia, haddock, etc., it will all work here, as long as each fillet is about 6 oz. Don't use fish that is thin, since it will overcook very quickly.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. No one is paying us for sharing the parchment bags with you. However, There are affiliate links in this post. This simply means sometimes I recommend a product or service and if you choose to purchase that product or service from my recommendation, I will get a small referral commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you but it does help to pay a tiny bit for the work I put in to creating recipes and sharing tips with you. I really appreciate your support. Thank you. The main intent of this post is to simply share my experience with you, so if you happen to find a great deal on a product I recommend at a garage sale, anywhere else online, or at a store, by all means, take advantage of it:). I won’t be mad, I promise. 

The post Fish and Vegetables En Papillote (Baked in Parchment Paper) Video Recipe appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/fish-and-vegetables-en-papillote-baked-in-parchment-paper-video-recipe/feed/ 6
Our Family Trip To NY http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/our-family-trip-to-ny/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/our-family-trip-to-ny/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 20:07:38 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17128 Going to NY is always like a breath of fresh air for my spirit and emotions. And literally, the air is so much more fresh, clear and pure than anywhere else I’ve been in the whole world. Not only do I thrive in the country and being surrounded by nature, it’s so awesome to spend […]

The post Our Family Trip To NY appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Summer NY Trip-1-54Going to NY is always like a breath of fresh air for my spirit and emotions. And literally, the air is so much more fresh, clear and pure than anywhere else I’ve been in the whole world. Not only do I thrive in the country and being surrounded by nature, it’s so awesome to spend time with my family.

All of my siblings were able to take the time off from work, gather their families with them and have a family reunion at my parents’ house. Summer NY Trip-1-49That’s not an easy task when everyone is an adult with families of their own, different schedules and commitments.
Summer NY Trip-1-32 copyWe had a lot to celebrate this time, as it seems we usually do. We had a baby shower for my sister, who is having the 4th boy in our family during the past year.Summer NY Trip-1-57

Summer NY Trip-1-59

Summer NY Trip-1-61We had a mini family reunion at the shower, with extended family from both my Mom’s and Dad’s side of the family. The theme of the shower was “Little Adventurer”. My sister in law, Vitaliya did an incredible job dreaming up the decor, and with help from my other sisters, brothers and our Dad, they turned the party into an astonishingly beautiful party. I’m trying to convince her to start a blog of her own:). She is so talented.
The whole family is so excited to meet baby Edward. Karina was 37 weeks at the time, so he will be joining us very shortly. It’s their very first baby and they are thrilled. I’ll be keeping my phone nearby, waiting for the phone call. Summer NY Trip-1-62Elina (my sister) made the beautiful cake. She is a hero. With 3 children, one of them a newborn, I have no idea how she managed to make such an amazing cake. It was a sponge cake with strawberries and it taste great – the layers were so tender, the strawberries added a lot of summery berry flavor and the frosting was so creamy, fluffy and not too sweet.

babyshower copyWe had so much great food. I don’t even remember exactly what was on the menu. Vegetable, beef, pork and chicken kebabs on the grill, Porcupine meatballs, new potatoes, rice pilaf, Antipasto Pasta Salad, corn on the cob, Olivie, Shuba and I’m sure I’m forgetting something else. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of all the food. We also had Elina’s phenomenal cake, Berry Cake Rolls and Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes, Cream Cheese Pastries for dessert and my Mom’s Berry Kompot as the beverage.

We also celebrated my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. Summer NY Trip-1-65Isn’t that amazing? Nowadays, commitment and faithfulness is very rare. I am so thankful that my parents’ show us such a good example of a wonderful marriage all the time, even 30 years after their wedding day. Summer NY Trip-1-64During the last day of our visit, we went to my cousin’s wedding and saw so many family members that came from Minnesota. I was thrilled to see so many family members, both my immediate family, extended family from New York, Ohio and Minnesota.

wedding copyDuring our stay we made sure to make the most of it. I especially wanted to explore the country home that I grew up in, and take walks to the river, through the woods and pick wild flowers in the fields.
We made good use of the garden, ate those lovely veggies every day and I even filmed a video. gardenandflowers copy
We rented a boat and spent one sunny afternoon at Caroga Lake.

lake2 copy

lake copySummer NY Trip-1-67Usually, our whole family gets together for Christmas, so we take family pictures inside, next to the Christmas tree. It was so special to take pictures on the river this time. It’s absolutely stunning and especially meaningful, since we grew up there and swam in the river since we were really little. A family photo session is a challenging adventure when there are so many little children involved. It was hard to pick a photo where everyone is looking into the camera and not crying or making a funny face. Here’s the reality of a family photo session:

realitypic copyI have such great respect for photographers. We just kept clicking away and came away with a few good shots. I am so thankful to God for my family and that we were able to spend time together. family copyMy sister, Milana, and her husband, Andrey, vlogged about our trip, so check out the video to see my favorite place in the world, my childhood home and the great time we had all together. WATCH the Trip to NY VLOG.

The post Our Family Trip To NY appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/our-family-trip-to-ny/feed/ 10
A Few of My Favorite Things July 2015 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/favorites/a-few-of-my-favorite-things-july-2015/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/favorites/a-few-of-my-favorite-things-july-2015/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:42:43 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17107 One of my favorite posts to read on other blogs and favorite videos to watch on YouTube are Monthly Favorites. This is where people usually share their favorite products, usually related to the type of blog/channel they have, such as beauty products if it’s a beauty channel, etc. I borrowed the idea from one of […]

The post A Few of My Favorite Things July 2015 appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
July FavoritesOne of my favorite posts to read on other blogs and favorite videos to watch on YouTube are Monthly Favorites. This is where people usually share their favorite products, usually related to the type of blog/channel they have, such as beauty products if it’s a beauty channel, etc. I borrowed the idea from one of my favorite blogs, andreadekker.com, where she also shares her monthly favorites.

I’ll be sharing all kinds of things – cooking tools, household items, baby things and anything else that makes life easier and I really enjoy. Some of my monthly favorites aren’t things at all. I hope some of these reviews will help you find products that are helpful to you, as well as saving you money on trying multiple other products, like I did. If anything, you can just read my thoughts and see if it’s something you would be interested in. I would also love to hear about your favorite things, so please share. 

1. Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop

August 2015 Favorites-1-10

Amazon stock photo

I’ve been looking for a good mop my entire married life. I’ve tried many different kinds of mops and I just didn’t like any of them. I just resigned myself to washing floors with a rag on my hands and knees. It was fine when we lived in apartments, where most of the floor space was carpeted except for my tiny kitchen and bathrooms. When we moved into our house last summer, the entire 1700 square feet is bamboo flooring. Even though we love our floors, it’s not my idea of fun, crawling on my hands an knees cleaning.

This mop does such a thorough job, with minimal effort. I love that there is a spray bottle attached to it, so I don’t have to keep dunking the mop in a bucket of water.  Another great thing is that you can just detach the mop pad and just throw it in the laundry.

2. Microplane Zester/Grater

312Sz19u+tL

Amazon stock photo

This nifty tool doesn’t take up a lot of space, and I use it all the time. Most often I use it to zest lemons, limes and oranges and it does such  beautiful job of finely shredding Parmesan cheese too. It’s really sharp and you can use it for so many other things, like grating onions or garlic into meatballs, grating chocolate into tiny, magical chocolate dust, grating ginger, etc. I’ve had mine for years and it’s still just as sturdy and sharp as when I first bought it.

3. Women’s Mad Love Lydia Loafer

August 2015 Favorites-1-12

Target stock photo

I accidentally stumbled onto these shoes in Target. I’ve worn them all month. They are one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve owned. They are so easy to throw on, are very light, but not flimsy at all. I really like this gray color, since it goes with almost any outfit. The price is great and I think they’re really cute.

They are perfect for grocery trips, library outings, walks around the neighborhood, getting together with friends and any other casual excursions. I actually just bought myself a second pair. When I wear them out, I highly doubt Target will still carry them. I want to have a new pair stashed in my closet. They are still in stock on their website right now, so I thought some of you might want to pick up a pair.

4. Amco Enameled Aluminum Lemon Squeezer

August 2015 Favorites-1-11

Amazon stock photo

Since I use lemons all the time, this tool has also been a favorite for many years. I use it almost every day. It squeezes out every last drop of the lemon and keeps the seeds in. There are juicers specifically made for limes and oranges too, but since I don’t like unitaskers, I just use the same one for all three, I just cut the orange into smaller pieces.

5. Chicco Next Fit Convertible Carseat

August 2015 Favorites-1-7

Amazon stock photo

I can’t believe we already switched Nathaniel from his infant car seat into this convertible car seat.

When he was a newborn, he did great in the car and was such a happy baby. When he grew a little bigger, I didn’t know what to do with him anymore. He would cry almost every time that we would drive anywhere. No matter what we tried, nothing helped. It didn’t even cross my mind that it could be something to do with his infant car seat, since it can be used up until the time he is 30 pounds. I have to take him with me on all my errands, and my Mama heart would just cry along with him, as he would scream for 20-30 minutes straight. I had to pull over several times just to comfort him, but as soon as I would start driving again, he would start screaming again. Finally, I did some research online to see if any other parents had any ideas. The #1 thing that kept popping up everywhere was that the infant car seats were the source of the trouble. Parents from many different sources said that as soon as they changed the car seat, the baby was content again. Well, I was skeptical, but I was ready to try anything at this point. I figured that we wouldn’t actually lose anything, even if he kept screaming, since eventually he would need to be switched to a bigger car seat anyway.

I did a lot more research, wrote down some possibilities and we took Nathaniel to a baby store to test out the different options. We actually strapped him into the car seats to see how it would fit. In the end, we decided to get this Chicco Next Fit Convertible Car Seat. I really like that the straps are nice and soft and don’t cut into his neck, chest and legs. The material seems really comfortable and doesn’t get too hot, which is a really big deal here in Florida. One of the parents reviewing this car seat described it as a La-Z-boy for babies and I completely agree.

The big test came when we drove to Orlando (which is a few hours away) and then to NY, more than 20 hours away. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. Nathaniel was actually playing with his toys, cooing and babbling in the backseat, and took long naps too. It was a night and day difference.

This car seat also reclines, which is great when Nathaniel is napping, and it is SO easy to install. This car seat is for both forward facing and rear facing, and can fit a baby as small as 5 lbs, all the way up to 65 lbs. (A great tip I have, is to try to get a coupon. If you sign up for Buy Buy Baby emails, they will send you coupons. We got ours on sale and used a 20% off coupon.)

6. Norpro Stainless Steel Skewers

41Df5KawtKL

Amazon stock photo

We’ve been grilling a ton this month. Our old skewers were becoming bent out of shape and the coating was flaking off. I found these stainless steel skewers and couldn’t be happier with them. They are much more sturdier that my previous ones, it’s easy to thread food onto them, and they don’t have any coating, so I don’t have to worry about it flaking off. I bought the 12 inches size, but they also have 14 inches available.

7. Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden 

August 2015 Favorites-1-13

Amazon stock photo

When I first read this book, I couldn’t put it down. I read it just two days. I also read it a loud to my husband too. It’s full of mystery and drama and isn’t sappy, so I knew he would enjoy it. Every time we would drive anywhere together, this book came with us. We probably finished reading it in a week, and he enjoyed it just as much as I did. I’ve reread it several times already.

It keeps you in suspense, the characters are very real and relatable. I love reading fiction, especially historical fiction, so this was a perfect fit. However, one of my pet peeves in reading fiction novels that is so many of them are shallow and fake, and I feel my brain cells dying while I’m reading it. I don’t even waste my time finishing them. This one was very well written, the story line was very interesting and thought provoking.

The story takes place in Boston, where the main character, Lydia, works as a translator in the US Navy, which is very unusual for a young lady of that time. She is very smart and gets involved in the underground work of abolishing the opium trade. I’m don’t want to give too much away, but this book was definitely worth my time. If you’re looking for something new to read, I highly recommend it.

Now for my most important favorites – the intangible ones.

Getting my PICC line out

August 2015 Favorites-1-9If you’re not aware, I had a PICC line in my arm since September 19, 2014. I had a really difficult pregnancy and recovery, so I was receiving IV infusions this whole time. Finally, on the day that Nathaniel turned 5 months, I had the most normal labs since before I got pregnant. The next day, on July 24th, the home health nurse finally took out this foreign object out of my arm.

I was so happy and still am amazed that I finally feel much more like myself. I know it will take my body a little bit more time to completely recuperate, but I am thankful to God for his healing and for blessing me with wonderful doctors and that I was able to be get medical care at home. If I spent all day, from sunup to sundown, on my knees thanking God, it wouldn’t be enough to express my gratitude.

Maximus born

maximus copyOn July 4, 2015, my new nephew, Maximus, was born. We are thrilled to welcome another little boy into our family. He is so loved by all of us and especially his two big sisters.

Family visiting

August 2015 Favorites-1-8My aunt and uncle came to visit us from Ohio, and we had a wonderful week with them. My brothers and sister visited with their families as well, so we had some great times all together. We love spending time with our families.

Favorite Bible Verse

IMG_8442

This is a chalkboard that we have in our dining room. I like to write different Bible verses and other inspiring quotes on it to be reminded daily of God’s goodness.

A Bible verse that has been significantly meaningful to me this month and throughout my pregnancy, was this one:

“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

God is always faithful. It’s not always easy to trust Him, but when I do, He gives me such a perfect peace, that I can’t explain it. It’s so comforting to know that he has everything in His control.

I’d love to hear about your favorite things too. Have you ever tried any of the products that I talked about? Are there any cooking, household, baby items that you think I would enjoy?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. This simply means sometimes I recommend a product or service and if you choose to purchase that product or service from my recommendation, I will get a small referral commission. Of course, this is at no extra cost to you but it does help to pay a tiny bit for the work I put in to creating recipes and sharing tips with you. I really appreciate your support. Thank you. The main intent of this post is to simply share my experience with you, so if you happen to find a great deal on a product I recommend at a garage sale, anywhere else online, or at a store, by all means, take advantage of it:). I won’t be mad, I promise. 

The post A Few of My Favorite Things July 2015 appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/favorites/a-few-of-my-favorite-things-july-2015/feed/ 22
Sautéed Green Beans, Baby Peas and Cherry Tomatoes http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/sauteed-green-beans-baby-peas-and-cherry-tomatoes/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/sauteed-green-beans-baby-peas-and-cherry-tomatoes/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 07:50:27 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17091 Summer is such a happy time of year. Everything is in the peak of growing, it’s warm and sunny. Even summer rain holds a special place in my heart. I love the cozy feeling it gives me. It’s a gardener’s paradise. We are in NY right now visiting my parents, and my soul is in […]

The post Sautéed Green Beans, Baby Peas and Cherry Tomatoes appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-9

Summer is such a happy time of year. Everything is in the peak of growing, it’s warm and sunny. Even summer rain holds a special place in my heart. I love the cozy feeling it gives me. It’s a gardener’s paradise. We are in NY right now visiting my parents, and my soul is in complete peace and I can’t stop smiling. I am in love with my parents’ garden. It’s in full bloom right now and we are definitely indulging in all the wonderful, completely organic vegetables that they grow.

When I’m in Florida, I have to make do with the produce I find in the grocery stores and farmer’s markets. This combination of veggies is spot on. I can always find all of these ingredients no matter what time of year, but they taste so “summery”.  I’m mentioned many times how much Segi and I love green beans, but I also really like using frozen peas. Since they are frozen at their peak of ripeness, they taste absolutely amazing and fresh, as long as you don’t overcook them. The shallots and garlic provide the flavor to the while dish, and the cherry tomatoes add a bit of acidity. It’s the perfect side dish to so many entrees.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb green beans
1 Tablespoon oil
1 shallot or 1/4 – 1/2 of a red onion, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup tender green peas, fresh or frozen
salt, ground black pepper
Instructions:

Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-16Cut the green beans in half or thirds. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Season liberally with salt. Add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes, just until the beans are tender but still vibrant green. Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-15Drain the green beans and immediately add to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, otherwise the beans will be too mushy and the color will be a brownish green, not vibrantly green.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots or red onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, until softened.

Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-14Add the halved cherry tomatoes, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the green beans and the peas. Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-13

Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-12Season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 5 minutes, just until everything is heated through. Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-11If you’re using fresh peas it will only be 1-2 minutes, if you’re using frozen peas, it will be about 5.

Serve warm or at room temperature.Sauteed Beans, Peas and Cherry Tomatoes-1-9

Summer Sauté With Green Beans, Baby Peas and Cherry Tomatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ lb green beans
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 shallot or ¼ - ½ of a red onion, sliced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup tender green peas, fresh or frozen
  • salt, ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the green beans in half or thirds. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Season liberally with salt. Add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes, just until the beans are tender but still vibrant green. Drain the green beans and immediately add to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, otherwise the beans will be too mushy and the color will be a brownish green, not vibrantly green.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the shallots or red onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, until softened.
  3. Add the halved cherry tomatoes, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the green beans and the peas. Season with salt and pepper. Mix to combine and cook for about 5 minutes, just until everything is heated through. If you’re using fresh peas it will only be 1-2 minutes, if you’re using frozen peas, it will be about 5.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The post Sautéed Green Beans, Baby Peas and Cherry Tomatoes appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/sauteed-green-beans-baby-peas-and-cherry-tomatoes/feed/ 1
Deluxe Veggie Omelet http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/breakfast/deluxe-veggie-omelet/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/breakfast/deluxe-veggie-omelet/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 10:30:14 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17066 On Sundays after church, we love to go out for brunch to a local breakfast and brunch cafe. Sergi and I are such huge fans of breakfast foods for all three meals of the day, not just in the morning. Not only does this place have the most amazing beignets that taste remarkably like Russian […]

The post Deluxe Veggie Omelet appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-19On Sundays after church, we love to go out for brunch to a local breakfast and brunch cafe. Sergi and I are such huge fans of breakfast foods for all three meals of the day, not just in the morning. Not only does this place have the most amazing beignets that taste remarkably like Russian  Ponchiki, but they also have so many entree options.
This omelet is my favorite. I tweaked it a bit to suit my taste more. The caramelized onions and golden brown mushrooms are so filling and hearty, the roasted peppers, tomatoes, spinach and fresh herbs bring so much brightness and fresh flavors. The feta cheese and shaved Parmesan cheese are the finishing touch that are so creamy, tangy and nutty. So many vitamins and nutrients are packed into one omelet. You will start your day right from the very beginning.
You can make this for an indulgent breakfast on the weekend, as well as a quick dinner any day of the week. I’ve been making it over and over again and every time I savor every bite, trying to get every single ingredient on the fork before it goes in my mouth. It’s the perfect combination for my palate.

Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons half n half (or milk or heavy cream)
salt, ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons butter or oil, divided
1 very small onion, sliced
2-4 oz fresh mushrooms (baby bella, button or any other kind of mushrooms), sliced
1 large handful baby spinach
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, julienned
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
4 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
1 Tablespoon fresh basil and parsley, chopped
Instructions:
Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-11Whisk the eggs, half and half, a pinch of salt and ground black pepper until the eggs are evenly mixed. (Half and half is a dairy product that is basically half milk and half heavy cream. You can use milk or heavy cream instead also.)
In a 10 inch nonstick skillet, heat up 1/2 Tablespoon of butter or oil. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, season with salt and ground black pepper and cook for another 5 minutes or so. The mushrooms and onion should start to turn golden brown. Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-12Take them out of the skillet and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
Add 1/2 Tablespoon of butter and melt it on medium heat. When the butter stops sizzling, pour in half of the egg mixture into the skillet.  You should hear it sizzle gently. Swirl the eggs around the pan. As the eggs set on the bottom, gently push them towards the center of the pan and swirl the pan so the liquid eggs will flow to the sides. Keep pushing the set eggs toward the center and swirling the pan, until most of the liquid eggs are dispersed evenly over the surface of the omelet. This is a very quick process and shouldn’t take long at all.
Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-13When the bottom of the omelet sets but the top is still runny, add half of the mushroom mixture to the center of the omelet, top with half of the baby spinach, half of the roasted red peppers and half of the tomatoes.
Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-14
Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-15Using a small, very thin spatula, fold the first side over the middle of the omelet. Fold the other side over the middle also, to make a neat omelet.
Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-16Slide the omelet out of the skillet and onto a plate. Top with half of the feta cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese. As the cheese settles into the hot omelet, it will start to get soft and melted.
Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Garnish both omelets with fresh basil and parsley. Serve immediately.Deluxe Veggie Omelet-1-19
Deluxe Veggie Omelet
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons half n half (or milk or heavy cream)
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or oil, divided
  • 1 very small onion, sliced
  • 2-4 oz fresh mushrooms (baby bella, button or any other kind of mushrooms), sliced
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • ¼ cup roasted red peppers, julienned
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shaved or grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil and parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Whisk the eggs, half and half, a pinch of salt and ground black pepper until the eggs are evenly mixed. (Half and half is a dairy product that is basically half milk and half heavy cream. You can use milk or heavy cream instead also.)
  2. In a 10 inch nonstick skillet, heat up ½ Tablespoon of butter or oil. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and ground black pepper and cook for another 5 minutes or so. The mushrooms and onion should start to turn golden brown. Take them out of the skillet and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
  4. Add ½ Tablespoon of butter and melt it on medium heat. When the butter stops sizzling, pour in half of the egg mixture into the skillet. You should hear it sizzle gently. Swirl the eggs around the pan. As the eggs set on the bottom, gently push them towards the center of the pan and swirl the pan so the liquid eggs will flow to the sides. Keep pushing the set eggs toward the center and swirling the pan, until most of the liquid eggs are dispersed evenly over the surface of the omelet. This is a very quick process and shouldn’t take long at all.
  5. When the bottom of the omelet sets but the top is still runny, add half of the mushroom mixture to the center of the omelet, top with half of the baby spinach, half of the roasted red peppers and half of the tomatoes.
  6. Using a small, very thin spatula, fold the first side over the middle of the omelet. Fold the other side over the middle also, to make a neat omelet.
  7. Slide the omelet out of the skillet and onto a plate. Top with half of the feta cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese. As the cheese settles into the hot omelet, it will start to get soft and melted.
  8. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Garnish both omelets with fresh basil and parsley. Serve immediately.

The post Deluxe Veggie Omelet appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/breakfast/deluxe-veggie-omelet/feed/ 1
One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/one-dish-asian-chicken-and-rice/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/one-dish-asian-chicken-and-rice/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 13:32:03 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=16862 As a task-oriented, type A personality gal, I love staying busy and productivity should be my middle name. However, one look at my baby’s beaming smile and all my noble ambitions fly right out the window. Nothing makes me happier than playing with my son.  I’ve always appreciated easy dinner options, and now it’s become […]

The post One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-29As a task-oriented, type A personality gal, I love staying busy and productivity should be my middle name. However, one look at my baby’s beaming smile and all my noble ambitions fly right out the window. Nothing makes me happier than playing with my son.  I’ve always appreciated easy dinner options, and now it’s become a necessity. Food must be easy in order to be cooked in my house these days. I should start a new category of recipes on this blog – “While the baby is napping”. As soon as those sleepy eyes open and that cute face turns my way and I hear baby babbles, I’m ready to move on to take off that apron. There are more important things for me to do, like letting him play with my face (his favorite thing to do now), sing silly songs, read books and watch him roll over, play with his toys and discover new things every day.

Playing with Nathaniel is so satisfying, but also exhausting, with juggling regular household chores and trying to keep my unpredictable lab levels normal. Cooking has to be fast and simple. Maybe it’s a subconscious thing, but I think simple meals taste better anyway.

Chicken and rice is always a favorite combination in our house. Using chicken thighs keeps the meat so juicy and makes perfect leftovers too. With just a few classic Asian ingredients – ginger, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, and soy sauce, it gives this dish a unique twist and amazing flavor combination. 

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 5 thighs), cut into 1 inch pieces

5 – 7 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided (I like Tamari)

4 Tablespoons oil, divided

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 small onion, finely chopped

7 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 – 1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks

1 1/2 cups long grain rice, I used basmati

2 1/2 cups chicken broth, hot

3 cups broccoli florets

salt, to taste

green onions, sliced, to garnish

Instructions:

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-15In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons oil and 2 Tablespoons cornstarch. You can use chicken breast, but be careful not to over cook it. Chicken breast will be dry if you eat this as a leftover.

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-16Heat 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Scoop out the chicken and set aside in a bowl.

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-17In the same skillet, add the onion, season with salt and cook on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened.

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-18Add the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook for 5-7 minutes, on medium heat, until the mushrooms have wilted down and are slightly golden.

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-19Some of the browned chicken bits will be left behind on the bottom of the skillet. As the onions and mushrooms cook, they will release a lot of liquid, which will sort of “deglaze” the bottom of the skillet and release all of those delicious brown bits. This will add lots of great flavor to the dish. If you don’t have a good quality skillet and your brown bits start to burn before the liquid releases, just add some water or broth to the skillet, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon. That should do the trick.

Add the garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper and carrot. Cook for 3 minutes.

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-20

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-21Add the rice, mix to combine until all the rice is evenly dispersed.

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-22Pour in the hot chicken broth, bring to a boil and add the remaining soy sauce, tasting the broth to see how much soy sauce you want to add.

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-23Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes.

Add the chicken and broccoli to the skillet, pushing the broccoli into the rice. One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-24You can just mix it all up together. Cover and continue cooking on low heat for another 3-5 minutes, until the rice and broccoli has cooked through.

If you like the broccoli to be very soft, add it earlier. I like broccoli to still have some crispness to it, so I add it at the very end. Turn off the heat and let it stand for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately, but leftovers store very well. You can even freeze the leftovers.One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice-1-25

One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 5 thighs), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 - 7 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided (I like Tamari)
  • 4 Tablespoons oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 7 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks
  • 1½ cups long grain rice, such as basmati
  • 2½ cups chicken broth, hot
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • salt, to taste
  • green onions, sliced, to garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons oil and 2 Tablespoons cornstarch.
  2. Heat 1½ - 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Scoop out the chicken and set aside in a bowl.
  3. In the same skillet, add the onion, season with salt and cook on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, until slightly softened.
  4. Add the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook for 5-7 minutes, on medium heat, until the mushrooms have wilted down and are slightly golden.
  5. Add the garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper and carrot. Cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Add the rice, mix to combine until all the rice is evenly dispersed.
  7. Pour in the hot chicken broth, bring to a boil and add the remaining soy sauce, tasting the broth to see how much soy sauce you want to add.
  8. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes.
  9. Add the chicken and broccoli to the skillet, pushing the broccoli into the rice. Cover and continue cooking on low heat for another 3-5 minutes, until the rice and broccoli has cooked through.
  10. If you like the broccoli to be very soft, add it earlier. I like broccoli to still have some crispness to it, so I add it at the very end. Turn off the heat and let it stand for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately, but leftovers store very well. You can even freeze the leftovers.

 

The post One Dish Asian Chicken and Rice appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/one-dish-asian-chicken-and-rice/feed/ 8
Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/appetizers/grilled-vegetable-and-mushroom-kebabs/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/appetizers/grilled-vegetable-and-mushroom-kebabs/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:10:30 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=16954 You’ve probably seen all kinds of vegetable combinations coming out of my kitchen. The fact is, that I adore veggies, especially when they are sautéed or roasted. They are the part of the meal that I look forward to the most. As soon as I load up my plate with meat, starch and veggies, I […]

The post Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-16
You’ve probably seen all kinds of vegetable combinations coming out of my kitchen. The fact is, that I adore veggies, especially when they are sautéed or roasted. They are the part of the meal that I look forward to the most. As soon as I load up my plate with meat, starch and veggies, I will pounce on the veggies first.

For the first 8 years of our married life, Sergi and I were apartment dwellers. Now that we have our own home with a backyard and grill handy, we make good use of it. With the grill only a few steps away from our kitchen, it makes it very easy to prep everything in the nice, air conditioned house, step outside to put the food on the grill (keeping all the heat and cooking mess out there) and in just a short time enjoy some charred, crisp but tender vegetables.

This is my favorite combination – zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and red onion. The mushrooms add so much heartiness to the kebabs, you could serve this to vegetarians, since it’s very filling, but it will make all the meat eaters happy too. We all appreciate tasty food, don’t we?

Ingredients:

2 small or 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 small or 1/2 of a large yellow, orange or green bell pepper, cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 of a large red onion, cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces

8 oz mushrooms, large ones cut in half

1/2 – 3/4 of a pint of cherry tomatoes

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon dry herb mixture

2 Tablespoon fresh herb mixture (thyme, rosemary, parsley, green onions, dill, etc.)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

salt, ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-9Cut all the vegetables into the appropriate size, so that they all cook at the same rate. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl. Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-10Add the olive oil, minced garlic, dry herbs, fresh herbs and minced garlic. Sometimes, I also add some balsamic vinegar. It adds really great flavor, sweetness and acidity. Mix to combine. Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-11Thread all the vegetables onto metal or bamboo skewers. You can place them on the skewers in any order, just make sure to end the skewer with a pepper or a mushroom. The zucchini, tomatoes and onions may slide right off and then can go between your grill grates when you’re flipping them over or taking them off the grill.

Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-12Preheat your grill on high for at least 15 minutes, covered. Clean the grill grates and then use a wad of paper towels dipped in oil and a pair of tongs to brush over the grill grates several times. Grilled Cheeseburgers-1-8Place the kebabs on the hot grill, decrease the heat just a bit to medium high heat and grill for about 15 minutes total, turning them over hallway through,  just until the vegetables and mushrooms are tender and as golden as you like them to be. Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-13Garnish the grilled kebabs with more fresh herbs.Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-14

Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs-1-16

Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 8-10 kebabs
Ingredients
  • 2 small or 1 large zucchini, sliced into ½ inch thick pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 - 1½ inch pieces
  • 1 small or ½ of a large yellow, orange or green bell pepper, cut into 1 - 1½ inch pieces
  • ½ of a large red onion, cut into 1 - 1½ inch pieces
  • 8 oz mushrooms, large ones cut in half
  • ½ - ¾ of a pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry herb mixture
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh herb mixture (thyme, rosemary, parsley, green onions, dill, etc.)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut all the vegetables into the appropriate size, so that they all cook at the same rate. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, dry herbs, fresh herbs and minced garlic. Mix to combine.
  2. Thread all the vegetables onto metal or bamboo skewers. You can place them on the skewers in any order, just make sure to end the skewer with a pepper or a mushroom. The zucchini, tomatoes and onions may slide right off and then can go between your grill grates when you're flipping them over or taking them off the grill.
  3. Preheat your grill on high for at least 15 minutes, covered. Clean the grill grates and then use a wad of paper towels dipped in oil and a pair of tongs to brush over the grill grates several times.
  4. Place the kebabs on the hot grill, decrease the heat just a bit to medium high and grill for about 15 minutes total, just until the vegetables and mushrooms are tender and as golden as you like them to be.
  5. Garnish the grilled kebabs with more fresh herbs.

 

The post Grilled Vegetable and Mushroom Kebabs appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/appetizers/grilled-vegetable-and-mushroom-kebabs/feed/ 1
Summer Grilling With the Family Video (Chicken, Salmon and Vegetable Kebabs) http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/summer-grilling-with-the-family-video-chicken-salmon-and-vegetable-kebabs/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/summer-grilling-with-the-family-video-chicken-salmon-and-vegetable-kebabs/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:49:09 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=17029 You’ve probably figured out that grilling is our jam, since I’ve been sharing so many grilling recipes with you recently. I think it’s a good excuse for us to get together with family and friends. I’ve lost count how many times we’ve had people over for some grilled food. Come to think of it, we’re […]

The post Summer Grilling With the Family Video (Chicken, Salmon and Vegetable Kebabs) appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
PicMonkey Collage copyYou’ve probably figured out that grilling is our jam, since I’ve been sharing so many grilling recipes with you recently. I think it’s a good excuse for us to get together with family and friends. I’ve lost count how many times we’ve had people over for some grilled food. Come to think of it, we’re having our church small group coming over tonight! I’m not making that up:).

My sister, Milana, and her husband, Andrey, invited us all over for a Kebab party to their place for the Forth of July. GrillingVideo copyNot only did we load up the grill with THREE kinds of kebabs – chicken, salmon and vegetable kebabs, but we also filmed it.
My sister and I prepped the kebabs, my husband grilled them and Andrey filmed us. GrillingVideo1 copyThe rest of the crowd was more than happy to help us devour all that deliciousness. It was a group effort, you see. Even my baby, Nathaniel, made an appearance. We’re all about teamwork.

You can watch us prepare all the kebabs on my YouTube Channel, and you can also watch all the behind the scenes on Milana and Andrey’s Vlog Channel, LOL Life. That video is so much fun! Behindthescenes copyYou can see what we’re really like, ha ha. Please like the videos and subscribe to both our channels. We’ll be posting many more fun videos in the future.

Printable Recipes:

Chicken Kebabs

Grilled Lemon and Garlic Salmon Kebabs

Vegetable Kebabs: Coming Soon (This Wednesday)

Rustic Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes

 

 

The post Summer Grilling With the Family Video (Chicken, Salmon and Vegetable Kebabs) appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/summer-grilling-with-the-family-video-chicken-salmon-and-vegetable-kebabs/feed/ 9